July 31, 2009: MARKEY STATEMENT ON COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care policy, today hailed the Committee’s passage of H.R 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.
“Today, we have taken a major step towards fixing our broken health care system and answering the urgent call for real reform,” said Markey. “We must ease the burden of health care costs on hardworking American families, and this bill is an important step towards that goal.
“In the fall, Congress will pass comprehensive health care reform legislation that will preserve patient choice and lower costs to make health coverage more affordable for individuals and small businesses. During this markup, I fought to preserve a strong public option and ensure that our world-class hospitals in Massachusetts continue to receive the federal funding that is commensurate with their vital mission. I will continue to fight for Massachusetts hospitals, physicians, and patients as the legislative process moves forward.”
During consideration of the bill in the Committee, Rep. Markey attached an amendment to the bill based on the Independence at Home Act (H.R. 2560), his bi-partisan legislation designed to enable the delivery of coordinated care to Medicare patients with multiple chronic illnesses in their own homes. Markey’s amendment, which passed with bi-partisan support, will create a three-year Medicare pilot program in 26 states (including Massachusetts) and the District of Columbia to authorize the creation of interdisciplinary teams of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists and other health professionals who will coordinate care for this vulnerable and underserved population. Under the Markey amendment, these teams of health providers will be responsible for improving patient health outcomes, reducing the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits, improving patient satisfaction and lowering costs.
Chairman Waxman praised the Independence at Home amendment as a “common sense provision that will further bend the cost curve.”
“My mother always told me, ‘work smarter, not harder’ and this amendment assures that we will reform the way we treat patients with multiple chronic diseases to provide the best quality care while saving millions for Medicare,” said Markey.
“Finally, I also want to commend Chairman Waxman, Chairman Pallone and Chairman Emeritus Dingell for their leadership and for guiding the Committee through some difficult negotiations.”