Washington, D.C.—Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement today, concerning the Senate version of the health care reform bill:
“Today, the Senate Finance Health Care Reform bill was released by Senator Max Baucus.
“It is telling that Senator Baucus stood alone at today’s press conference. There was no “Gang of Six,” including the absence of Senator Snowe and no Democrats. Even with huge concessions to the legislation, including no public option, it not so shockingly, has not garnered any visible support.
“Now that we’ve seen that Senate Republicans are not going to support any bill, no matter how weak, it is time to start earnest negotiations among Democrats for what is best for America, not what is best for people’s personal politics.
“This bill fails to meet the basic principle of health care reform: that all Americans will have good, affordable health care. It would give a government-subsidized monopoly to the private insurance industry to sell their most profitable plans without having to face competition from a public health insurer.
“Under the Baucus bill, employers would have no responsibility to help pay for their workers coverage and would be given incentives to have workers pay more for barebones insurance. This “free rider” provision would divide workers into two classes, “the have and have-nots”. This effectively could discourage employers from hiring those who come from low-income families. And those who don’t get health benefits through work would still not be able to afford any coverage at all.
“As I have said in the past, a strong public option is the most effective way to achieve our goals of controlling costs, eliminating abuses of patients by insurance company abuses, and providing quality health care to all.
“I urge the Senators on the Finance Committee to replace the Baucus plan with legislation that will guarantee that quality, affordable health care that includes a strong public option. Anything less is unacceptable.”