Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation that would compel Congress to vote on a proposal for helping the nation's uninsured. The bill would create a Citizens' Healthcare Working Group to study the issue through public hearings and online discussion groups. The group would submit a proposal to Congress, and a vote would be required within six months. "All of the powerful special interests are going to have to accept some reforms they have perhaps rejected in the past if America is to have a healthcare system that works for all," Hatch said. The bill would allocate $3 million annually to cover the costs of the working group, Wyden said. The senators' announcement came at the start of Cover the Uninsured Week, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Meanwhile, HHS reiterated President Bush's proposals for helping the uninsured, including expanding community health centers, extending the availability of State Childrens Health Insurance Program funds and providing tax credits to help families offset the cost of health insurance. -- by Jeff Tieman
Hatch, Wyden seek to force solution to uninsured
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