NASW Health Care Reform Roundup – July 28, 2009

In an effort to keep you informed of the work NASW is doing on health care reform, we will periodically send out a roundup of activities.

Legislation Introduced
On July 14, 2009, Rep. Dingell (MI-15) introduced the America’s Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009, H.R. 3200. This act is the result of work among three committees in the House to fulfill President Obama’s goals of reducing health care costs, protecting and increasing consumers’ choices, and guaranteeing access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.  NASW was pleased with this initial bill.  Three committees have considered the bill and numerous amendments have been made as the bill moves through the legislative process.   To watch the committee markups and obtain information about the amendments, go to the Energy and Commerce Committee, Ways and Means Committee, or Education and Labor Committee. The Energy and Commerce Committee has yet to report the bill out of committee.

Legislative Climate
While House Democratic leadership has negotiated with conservative Blue Dog Democrats to achieve significant progress, the party lacks sufficient support from its own Members in the Senate.  As a result, the White House and Democratic Senate leadership are working with moderate Republicans to try and achieve meaningful reform.  The primary items up for discussion are the idea of a government “cooperative” to compete with private health care companies, rather than a public option, as well as a possible tax on higher-cost health care plans in the country.  Meanwhile, President Obama has continued to tour the country, providing updates on health care legislation and urging Americans to support his ideals for reform.

Meetings Attended
NASW has attended several meetings on health care reform over the past week, including:

  • Patients’ Access to Responsible Care Alliance meeting focusing on the legislative concerns of non-medical doctor providers participating in the Medicare program.
  • Alliance for Health Reform briefing on mental health benefits in health care reform legislation.
  • Senate staff on an amendment concerning state and federal law on non-medical doctor billing under health care reform.
  • Key member of Congress on health care reform during a PACE-supported dinner.

Letters Signed (The text of these letters will be posted on the Health Care Reform Page)

  • Mental Health Liaison Group to Chairmen Waxman, Rangel, and Miller expressing support for H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.
  • Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) letter expressing support for the Reed Amendment to the Affordable Health Choices Act. This important measure is aimed at improving the overall health status of Americans served by Community Mental Health Center (CMHCs) and other community-based mental health and addiction providers.
  • Four letters from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities supporting the introduction of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. The letters went to Chairmen Waxman, Rangel, and Miller, and Speaker Pelosi.
  • Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities letter to Chairman Kennedy expressing deep appreciation for the effort that has gone into getting the Affordable Health Choices Act successfully passed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.  This comprehensive health reform legislation represents a positive sea change that will significantly improve access to health and long term services and supports for people with disabilities and chronic conditions.

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Resources

  • Families USA released a new report, Coverage for America: We All Stand to Gain. The report provides state-by-state estimates of how many people will gain coverage under America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. The report indicates that the health reform bill proposed by key committees in the House will benefit all Americans.
  • For ongoing information, please visit our health care page.
  • Keep up with the latest from NASW on Facebook, Twitter, and the NASW Advocacy Blog.  We want your feedback: Post to the fan page’s wall and leave your comments on the blog.
  • You can visit the White House Web page to see updates on health care reform. After you read it, come and post a note on our Social Work Blog (hyperlink to the blog)  about it.

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