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Harkin: With a Bipartisan Summit on the Horizon, the White House has Laid Out a Path Forward for Comprehensive Health Reform this Year

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after the White House unveiled their health reform proposal.  Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“In his State of the Union address, the President made clear that we cannot walk away from health reform.  Today, the President put this directive into action and he did so with a proposal that builds on what works, fixes what does not and moves the health reform debate ahead. 

“The president’s plan seeks to increase affordability and expand access to health care, fill the donut hole so seniors can afford essential medications and ensure fairness across the board with state Medicaid programs.  It also recognizes that states should be seen as innovators for expanding Medicaid coverage to their poorest residents and does not penalize these states in favor of states that have done little or nothing to extend benefits to the uninsured.  Additionally it provides a safeguard against substantial premium rate hikes to protect consumers.

“With a framework in hand and a bipartisan summit on the horizon, the White House has outlined a path forward for enacting comprehensive health reform this year.   I look forward to joining with our president in this effort and hope that it is met with strong support in Congress.”