June 23, 2009- Markey Statement on Draft Health Care Legislation

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today held its first hearing on the draft comprehensive health care reform bill developed by the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor Committees. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, made the following statement on the first day of legislative hearings on the discussion draft:

 “Today is an historic day. With more than 45 million Americans without health insurance, unsustainable costs that continue to skyrocket, and a broken system that fails many of our fellow citizens, the status quo is no longer acceptable.  Our nation’s health care system needs revolutionary change.

 

“From the days of Lexington Green and the “Shot Heard Round the World”, my home state of Massachusetts has a certain familiarity with revolutions.  These days, though, we’re not focused on Minute Men, but Minute Clinics.  It’s not about soldiers in Red Coats anymore, but doctors in White Coats that we’re concerned about.

“While Massachusetts was in the lead of the American Revolution, I am proud that our state also has been at the forefront of the health care revolution. More than three years ago, Massachusetts passed a revolutionary health reform bill that has resulted in coverage for 97.4% of our residents, delivering health care insurance to an additional half a million state men, women and children. I’m pleased to see that many elements of the Massachusetts health reform effort are incorporated into the bill we are considering today.

 “I commend you, Mr. Chairman, for including in the Medical Home Pilot Program section of the draft bill some of the provisions that I included in the bi-partisan Independence at Home Act that I introduced earlier this year.  My Independence at Home legislation has been endorsed by 29 organizations, including AARP – one of the consumer organizations the Subcommittee will hear from on the second panel today – and the American Nurses Association – which will testify on Thursday. My bill also is co-sponsored by four members of our Committee from both sides of the aisle.

“As you know, my bill seeks to improve the care received by some of Medicare’s most vulnerable beneficiaries – those suffering from severe, chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, congestive heart failure and other conditions.  Many of these patients currently receive poor medical care and are in urgent need of more coordinated care across all treatment settings, including their homes.

“I have some additional suggestions to the Medical Home provisions in this draft, and I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, as health care legislation moves forward.”