July 15, 2009

Gillibrand Praises Senate Health Committee for Passing Comprehensive Health Reform Bill with Public Option

Will Continue to Push for “Medicare for All” Plan

Washington, D.C. - Today, as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed comprehensive health reform legislation that includes a public option, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement praising her colleagues and reinforcing the urgent need for the Senate to pass a bill that includes a public option:

"I want to commend my colleagues Chairman Edward M. Kennedy, Senator Chris Dodd, and all the Democrats on the HELP Committee for passing comprehensive health care reform legislation that includes a public option. They have shown the leadership necessary to seize the opportunity and make real progress to fix America's broken health care system.

"We can't afford to wait any longer to finish the job in the full Senate. More than 46 million Americans are uninsured. Health care costs are crippling businesses of all sizes and pushing families in every corner of America to the brink. It's time now to finally fix the broken health care system and pass comprehensive reform legislation.

"As I've said before, a not-for-profit, public plan option absolutely must be included in comprehensive health care reform. I will continue to push for a ‘Medicare for all' plan that anyone could buy into to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of income. In 2009, it is unconscionable that in the world's wealthiest nation, people are being dropped and turned away from coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and that families are just one illness away from bankruptcy.

"A public plan will compete with private insurers - improving quality, ensuring access in underserved areas, setting a standard for coverage and efficiency that private insurers would have to compete with, and lowering costs for everyone.

"The days of having nearly 50 million uninsured and another 25 million underinsured Americans must end. Our families and our economy can't afford us to wait any longer. A not-for-profit public plan that can cover anyone and lower costs for everyone is the only way to get the job done right."