Fifteen sponsors of comprehensive healthcare legislation introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama, outlining seven principles they believe should be part of any sweeping healthcare reform effort.
The principles in the letter addressed broad-based reforms such as ensuring universal coverage; making coverage both affordable and portable; implementing strong private insurance market reforms; modernizing federal tax rules for health coverage; promoting improved disease prevention and wellness; encouraging transparency in both coverage choices and prices; and improving quality and value of care.
Signatories of the letter offered their commitment to working with Obama in a bipartisan fashion to reform our healthcare system.
Wyden, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, is the chief sponsor of the Healthy Americans Act, which would effectively end employer-based health insurance coverage, replacing it instead with a system overseen by the government but open to competition from private insurance providers and requiring individuals to buy their own coverage.
Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is not a co-sponsor of Wydens bill, recently sent a similar letter to Obama, outlining his own principles for reform, which were subsequently detailed in a Call to Action plan for universal coverage, according to a Baucus spokeswoman. Despite these independent efforts to court the incoming administration, Wyden at a Senate Finance hearing this week praised Baucus and the committee for proceeding out of the gate so quickly on healthcare reform. -- by Jennifer Lubell