The man behind the Stark laws has served as a California congressman since 1973 and has earned a reputation for being a staunch liberal. He currently serves as the Ranking Minority Leader of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Stark sponsored the initial bill in 1989 for the three provisions that make up the Stark law, which governs physician self-referral for Medicaid and Medicare patients to facilities at which the doctor has a financial interest. As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee from 1985 to 1994, the former banker expanded Medicare benefits and COBRA, which provides an option to maintain health insurance coverage for those between jobs. Stark is now working to implement the health reform law, which he believes is vital.