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Statement of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) Following the White House Summit on Health Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement upon the conclusion of the White House bipartisan summit on health reform.  Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“Throughout this summit we heard stories from around the country that tell of the urgency to enact comprehensive health reform: to control spiraling costs, provide needed insurance reforms, reduce our growing deficit and increase coverage. 

“Rising premiums are crushing family budgets and putting affordable, quality coverage further out of reach.  The reality is that only after we enact comprehensive health reform this year will we break this cycle.

“We cannot take an incremental approach to reform.  Insurance reforms can only be done if everyone is in the pool, but to get everyone in the pool, we need to make it affordable.  Only then can we make health care cheaper for everybody. 

“Nor can we start over.  Republicans and Democrats agree on many of the base issues already on the table that will achieve reform, which have been incorporated into both the President and Senate’s proposal: making insurance affordable to those with pre-existing conditions; the ability to buy insurance across state lines; expanding health savings accounts; assisting small businesses and incentivizing states to lower costs.

“The urgency to enact reform is there.  The ideas to get it done are on the table.  Americans cannot wait any longer.  Let’s finish what we started and give Americans the comprehensive health reform they need this year.”