Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Senators Baucus and Grassley

Sad Day For Health Care Reform

Senate Committee

Dropping Public Option !

Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — After weeks of secretive talks, a bipartisan group in the Senate edged closer Monday to a health care compromise that omits two key Democratic priorities but incorporates provisions to slow the explosive rise in medical costs, officials said.

These officials said participants were on track to exclude a requirement many congressional Democrats seek for large businesses to offer coverage to their workers. Nor would there be a provision for a government insurance option, despite President Barack Obama's support for such a plan.

The three Democrats and three Republicans from the Senate Finance Committee were considering a tax of as much as 35 percent on very high-cost insurance policies, part of an attempt to rein in rapid escalation of costs. Also likely to be included in any deal was creation of a commission charged with slowing the growth of Medicare through recommendations that would take effect automatically unless overturned by Congress.

"We're going to get agreement here," Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the Finance Committee chairman, said Monday. "The group of six really wants to get to 'yes.'"

Obama has outlined two broad goals for legislation he is struggling to win from Congress: expansion of health insurance coverage to millions who lack it, and reining in increases in costs.

Like bills drafted by Democrats, the proposal under discussion by the six Finance Committee members would bar insurance companies from denying coverage to any applicant. Nor could insurers charge higher premiums on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions.

But it jettisons other core Democratic provisions in a reach for bipartisanship on an issue that has so far produced little.

The effort received a boost during the day from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, normally a close ally of Republicans. In a letter to committee leaders, the business group called for the panel to "act promptly, preferably before" the Senate's scheduled vacation at the end of next week. In doing so, the business organization dealt a blow to the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other GOP lawmakers who have called repeatedly for Democrats to slow down.

Read Rest of Article

Meanwhile, you'll start hearing new rants about a so-called "Co-Op" Plan (baby Public Options in each state) instead of a true, strong national Public Option Plan. Here, Howard Dean quickly explains why this is just another health industry con.


VIDEO #2 : Rep. Maxine Waters breaks down the truth about Blue Dog Democrats and Public Option

This is turning out to be ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC ! It is unbelievable that so many politicians on both sides of the aisle are so in the back pockets of the lobbyists/corporations that they would all turn their backs on the needs of our country...even going against our President's wishes. This is a sad day in America. President Obama warned us. He said he could not do it alone. It is time for We The People to rally together TO SCREAM OUT IN RECORD NUMBERS AGAINST BOTH the Dems and Repubs who are against us.

This is OUR country and they are supposed to represent US !

CLICK HERE if videos did not appear through server


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Person Of The Week
Ms. Valerie Jarrett
President Obama Senior Advisor

Look for Ms. Valerie Jarrett on the cover of this week's New York Times in an article entitled "The Ultimate Obama Insider". Had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Jarrett this week...absolutely great person.


President Obama's Weekly Address

July 25, 2009: The President discusses a key factor that has been considered in the development of the health insurance reform proposals that are being considered: the impact of reform on small business.

President Obama wants to hear from you. Go to WhiteHouse.gov to read a new Council of Economic Advisers report and give your feedback.

CLICK HERE if video does not appear through server

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Letter From The President
Regarding Health Care Reform

Dear Friend,

As you read this, we are closer than ever to passing comprehensive health insurance reform that benefits American families and small businesses. Despite all the back and forth in the news right now, it is important to understand just how far we've come in this challenging process.

That's why I'm holding a press conference tonight at 8pm ET, and writing to let everyone know where we are, what's ahead, and why health insurance reform is so important.

Let me be clear: although Congress is still debating parts of the legislation we have achieved critical consensus on several key areas:

If you already have health insurance: reform will provide you with more security and stability. It will limit your own out of pocket costs and prevent your insurance company from dropping your coverage if you get too sick. You'll also have affordable insurance options if you lose or change your job. And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money.

If you don't have health insurance: you will finally have guaranteed access to quality, affordable health care, and you can choose the plan that best suits your family's needs. And no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.

Now, I realize that the last few miles of any race are the hardest to run, but we can't stop now. There's no dispute about it: we cannot control our long-term fiscal health as a nation without health insurance reform. American families and small businesses understand that the health insurance status quo is taking away those things that they value most about health care. The stability and security that comes with knowing that you can get the treatment you need, when you need it. Without reform, we are consigning our children to a future of skyrocketing premiums and crushing deficits.

We have to seize this opportunity and pass health insurance reform this year. You can help by forwarding this email to your family and friends and letting them know what's at stake in this debate.

Thank you,
Barack Obama

P.S. Tune in to tonight's press conference on health insurance reform at 8pm ET on WhiteHouse.gov.

Visit Whitehouse.gov
VIDEO: Rachel Maddow Demolishes
Pat Buchanan's Racial Ignorance

Explains America was built by slaves...not JUST Whites;
that Blacks DID die in the civil war and more.

CLICK B4B if video does not appear through server


Monday, July 20, 2009

2 Videos Reveal GOP Scare Tactics AGAINST

Health Care Reform

Video 1: Senator Merkley (Ore) Exposes GOP 'Strategist' (Con-Artist)
Frank Lunz's Talking Points AGAINST Health Care Reform

Video 2: Shows Key Strategy GOP will use AGAINST Health Care Reform...FEARMONGERING !
See how many times you hear these phrases this week from the so-called 'liberal media'.

The Time Is NOW !

CLICK B4B if videos do not appear through server

Saturday, July 18, 2009

President Obama:
No More Mr. Nice Guy

Launches Health Care Ad Campaign
Targeting 11 'Centrist' Democrats

(From Huffington Post)

Ignoring criticism - namely from Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid - that intra-party targeting was ineffective, Barack Obama's campaign arm is expanding its health care ad buy into the districts of key conservative House Democrats.

Late Friday night Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee announced the expansion of the "It's Time" ad purchase, which uses personal stories of health care struggles to drive home the need for reform. The initial purchase was on national cable and in eight states with critical Democratic and moderate Republican Senators.

Now the scope of the campaign is expanding. The ad will appear in the media markets that overlap with the congressional districts of 15 members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Eleven of those districts belong to Democrats, including Rep. Zack Space (Ohio), Rep. John Barrow (Georgia), Rep. Jay Inslee (Washington), Rep. Mike Ross (Arkansas), Rep. Bart Gordon (Tennessee), Rep. Baron Hill (Indiana), Rep. Charlie Melancon (Louisiana), Rep. Mike Doyle (Pennsylvania), Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah), Rep. Bart Stupak (Michigan), Rep. Jerry McNerney (California).

The four Republican districts belong to Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan), Rep. Mary Bono Mack (California), and Rep. Greg Walden (Oregon), Rep. Sue Myrick (North Carolina)

For reform advocates, the Energy and Commerce Committee remains the toughest venue of the three committees handling health care in the House of Representatives, in large part because of the Blue Dog and moderate Democrats that make up its ranks. In making this purchase, Organizing for America either is worried about the committee's progress or -- much more likely -- sending a message that it has no problem applying pressure on fellow party members.


No representative is named in the ad. But every one of the aforementioned members will know that the spots are airing in their districts. The markets where the ad will run, according to the OFA/DNC press release, are: Savannah, Palm Springs, Seattle, Nashville, Bloomington, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Little Rock, Columbus, Marquette, Grand Rapids and Medford.

CLICK B4B if video does not appear through server

Special Thanks HuffPo

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Complete Video:
President Obama's Powerful

"We've got to say to our children, Yes, if you're African American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that someone in a wealthy suburb does not have to face. That's not a reason to get bad grades, that's not a reason to cut class, that's not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school," he said. "No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands - and don't you forget that."

CLICK HERE if video does not appear through server


President Obama Explains
Health-Care Reform

CLICK HERE if video does not appear through server

Person Of The Week

Judge Sonia Sotomayor !

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The House Releases It's Health-Care Reform Bill

Ezra Klein Takes A Look

Washington Post

On first glance, it looks good. A few thoughts:

The Process Is the Message: Three separate committees -- Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor -- have come together on one bill. This is an incredible achievement. If you read histories of the 1994 health-care reform fight, all of them have a substantial section on the committee crack-up: One passed a version of single-payer, another a variant of Bill Clinton's reform, another went further to the right. There was no unity.

There is unity now. And if it holds -- if the House of Representatives manages to pass this plan with a substantial majority of enthusiastic Democrats -- that significantly strengthens the House's hand in its eventual negotiations with the more fractious Senate. That's a big "if." But so too would have been the idea that three separate committees could cooperate on a bill of this size.

The Public Plan: You can download a summary sheet here. The public plan -- which is really three, or maybe four, insurance plans -- pays Medicare rates to hospitals (and Medicare rates plus five percent to physicians -- thanks to Marci Wheeler for the correction) for the first three years and then begins negotiating on its own. It is open to anyone with access to the Health Insurance Exchange.

The Benefit Packages: This is why I say there could be three, even four, public plans. Within the Health Insurance Exchange, the basic plan that everyone needs to offer is, well, the "basic plan." On first glance, it's pretty comprehensive: It has to be equal in value to the prevailing employer-based insurance in the area. Cost-sharing cannot exceed $5,000 for individuals or $10,000 for families in the first year (it can then grow by the rate of inflation each year after that). It is heavily regulated. And then there is an "enhanced" plan above it, with less cost-sharing, and then a "premium" plan above that, with even less cost sharing, and then a "premium-plus" plan above that. Of these, only the "premium-plus" plan can vary in benefits, as opposed to vary in cost-sharing. The public plan can offer all levels of plan.

The Health Insurance Exchange: It's run nationally, though states can opt out of the national structure and go it alone if they choose, and if they follow federal rules. In the first year, it accepts those without health insurance, those who are buying health insurance on their own, and small businesses with fewer than 10 people. In the second year, it accepts small businesses with fewer than 20 people. After that, "larger employers as permitted by the Commissioner." In other words, expansion is discretionary, not mandated. The only people able to access the public plan in the early years will be on the exchange, and the exchange will be, relative to the population, pretty limited. So the public plan will be limited, and so too will any anticipated savings.

Affordability and Subsidies: The House bill has subsidies up to 400 percent of poverty, which is equal to $43,320 for an individual and $88,200 for a family of four. At the bottom end -- 133 percent if income, as below that, you're eligible for Medicaid -- the subsidies limit your health premiums to 1.5 percent of income. At the top end -- 400 percent -- it's no more than 11 percent of income. Speaking of the out-of-pocket cap, all of the benefit packages -- from the "basic" plan on upward -- cap total costs for members. So if you're not eligible for subsidies, you're still going to be protected from catastrophic health-care costs.

(Read Rest of Article)

Photo credit: Susan Walsh -- Associated Press Photo .


Monday, July 13, 2009

President Obama Selects Dr. Regina Benjamin,

Surgeon General

ABC News' Jake Tapper, Sunlen Miller, and Karen Travers report:

President Obama will name Dr. Regina Benjamin as U.S. Surgeon General in a Rose Garden announcement late this morning.

Benjamin, an Alabama family physician, runs a rural health clinic in Bayou La Batre. She was the first African-American woman to head a state medical society and received a Macarthur Foundation “genius grant” last year.

She became known nationally for her determination to rebuild her clinic, destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In her profile on the National Institute of Health web site, Benjamin writes about her calling to become a doctor while in medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I believe it was divine intervention -- it was in medical school when I realized there was nothing else I'd rather do with my life than to be a doctor. I had never seen a black doctor before I went to college, so I did not have an idea that I wanted to be one. I never thought I that I couldn't, but I never really thought about it at all.”

According to a 1997 article in Ebony, Benjamin said she applied to Yale University School of Law before she attended college. “They sent me a reply politely telling me that I needed my undergraduate degree first."

To pay for college, she turned to the National Health Service Corps, which gave her a tuition reimbursement in exchange for committing to work in areas where there was a shortage of doctors. That agreement took her to Bayou La Batre where she was the only doctor for 2,500 people, most of whom lived below the poverty line and spoke no English.

Benjamin was named the Person of the Week on ABC News’ World News Tonight in 1995 and conveyed the challenges of servicing poor patients.

“The people are real, genuine, hardworking. They're proud people. They make a living the best they can on shrimp boats. They, unfortunately, are too poor to pay their medical bills at times,” she told ABC News’ Peter Jennings. “Sometimes it's very frustrating. Sometimes I can do everything that the textbooks taught me and school taught me and then patients can't buy their medicine. And it's all for nothing."

Benjamin will appear in the Rose Garden today as the president makes the nomination formal.


Ten years ago The New York Times called Dr. Benjamin

"Angel In A White Coat"


Saturday, July 11, 2009

President Obama's Weekly Address

Discusses Jobs, Recovery,
'Rescuing Our Economy from Disaster',
Health Care and More

CLICK HERE if video does not appear through server

Friday, July 10, 2009

Obama's Arrive In Ghana !
(The Longest Journey)

CAPE COAST, Ghana — From the rampart of a whitewashed fort once used to ship countless slaves from Africa to the Americas, Cheryl Hardin gazed through watery eyes at the route forcibly taken across the sea by her ancestors centuries before.

"It never gets any easier," the 48-year-old pediatrician said, wiping away tears on her fourth trip to Ghana's Cape Coast Castle in two decades. "It feels the same as when I first visited - painful, incomprehensible."

On Saturday, Barack Obama and his family will follow in the footsteps of countless African-Americans who have tried to reconnect with their past on these shores. Though Obama was not descended from slaves - his father was Kenyan - he will carry the legacy of the African-American experience with him as America's first black president.

For many, the trip will be steeped in symbolism.

"The world's least powerful people were shipped off from here as slaves," Hardin said Tuesday, looking past a row of cannons pointing toward the Atlantic Ocean. "Now Obama, an African-American, the most powerful person in the world, is going to be standing here. For us it will be a full-circle experience."

Built in the 1600s, Cape Coast Castle served as Britain's West Africa headquarters for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which saw European powers and African chiefs export millions in shackles to Europe and the Americas.

The slave trade ended here in 1833, and visitors can now trek through the fort's dungeons, dark rooms once crammed with more than 1,000 men and women at a time who slept in their own excrement. The dank air inside still stings the eyes.

Visiting for the first time, Hardin's 47-year-old sister Wanda Milian said the dungeons felt "like burial tombs."

"It felt suffocating. It felt still," said Milian, who like her sister lives in Houston, Texas. "I don't know what I expected. I didn't expect to experience the sense of loss, the sense of hopelessness and desolation."

Those who rebelled were packed into similar rooms with hardly enough air to breath, left to die without food or water. Their faint scratch marks are still visible on walls.

Down by the shore is the fort's so-called "Door of No Return," the last glimpse of Africa the slaves would ever see before they were loaded into canoes that took them to ships that crossed the ocean.

Today, the door opens onto a different world: a gentle shore where boys freely kick a white soccer ball through the surf, where grey-bearded men sit in beached canoes fixing lime-green fishing nets, where women sell maize meal from plates on their heads.

Behind them is Africa's poverty: smoke from cooking fires rises from a maze of thin wooden shacks, their rusted corrugated aluminum roofs held down by rocks. Children bathe naked in a tiny dirt courtyard.

"I just can't wrap my mind around this," said Milian, who works at a Methodist church. "If it weren't for all this" - for slavery - "I wouldn't be standing here today. I wouldn't be who I am. I wouldn't have the opportunities I do. I wouldn't practice the religion I do."

Milian also grappled with the irony that fort housed a church while the trade went on, and that African chiefs and merchants made it all possible, brutally capturing millions and marching them from the continent's interior to be sold in exchange for guns, iron and rum.

"It's mixed up," Milian said. "It's not an easy puzzle to put together."

Though slavery in the U.S. ended after the Civil War in 1865, its legacy has lived on. The U.S. Senate on June 18 unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation.

"This is part of our history," said Hardin, who first visited Ghana in the late 1980s and later married a Ghanaian engineer she met in the U.S.

Her 15-year-old son was along for the first time. "I want him to understand what his liberty really means, who he really is," Hardin said.

But racism, both sisters agreed, would not end with Obama's visit.

"Let's not be naive. When your skin is darker, you are still going to be treated differently," Hardin said. But Obama's trip "will be a turning point, not just for America but for the world."

Milian said Obama's journey would also bear a message to those who organized the trade.

"It will say they failed, it all failed," she said. "The human mind is capable of horrible things, but the fact that we're standing here, the fact Obama will be standing here, proves we are also capable of great resilience."

VIDEO: Ghana Prepares for President Obama

CLICK HERE if video does not appear through server


What Exactly Is

Single-payer Health Care ?

(and why we should demand it)

(From WiKi)

Single-payer health care is a term used in the United States to describe the payment of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers from a single fund. It differs from typical private health insurance where, through pricing and other measures taken by the insurer, the level of risks carried by multiple insurance pools as well as the coverage can vary and the pricing has to be varied according to the contribution of risk added to the pool. It is often mentioned as one way to deliver universal health care. The administrator of the fund could be the government but it could also be a publicly owned agency regulated by law. Australia's Medicare, Canada's Medicare, and healthcare in Taiwan are examples of single-payer universal health care systems.

According to the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus, a single-payer system is:

An approach to health care financing with only one source of money for paying health care providers. The scope may be national, like the Canadian system, state-wide, or community-based. The payer may be a governmental unit or other entity such as an insurance company. The proposed advantages include administrative simplicity for patients and providers, and resulting significant savings in overhead costs.[1]

Single-payer health care does not necessarily mean that the government or some government agency delivers or controls health care services. It may pay for health professionals and services that are delivered in either private or public sector settings according to the needs and wishes of the patient and his or her doctor.

Single-payer is one alternative proposed for health care reform in the United States, and as such, has been the subject of active political debate for decades. A national health insurance system, though not necessarily a single payer system, is the reform proposal that has the greatest level of support amongst medical professionals[2] and the general public,[3] though some in Congress and the health insurance industry have tried to deflect calls for such reform by insisting that the U.S. should adopt a "uniquely American solution"[4] that would protect the profits of private insurers, thus ruling out a single-payer system.


B4B Note: The health insurance industry is blatantly and disgustingly spending millions of dollars to lobby (bribe) politicians against single-payer. Even sadder is the fact that our politicians are taking the bribe money and agreeing to doing everything they can to block this much needed health care reform (and basically everything else President Obama proposes). It is not surprising that the 'Just Say No' Republicans are dedicated to blocking progress for We The People, but what is pitiful is the so-called 49 member 'Blue Dog DEMOCRATS' or DINO's (Democrats In Name Only) who will do whatever it takes to get a chunk of the bribe money...in exchange for turning their backs and voting against We The People.

As a concession (which Presidents are forced to do at times), President Obama has opted for what is now called a Public Option which will be a combination of a form of Single-payer 'competing' against health insurance companies. Although this plan is far from the effectiveness of Single-payer it does serve as an incremental improvement of our current health care system. Problem is, many Blue Dogs want to block even that ! (because health insurance companies don't want any competition) Click 'Public Option' above to view President Obama's Health Care Townhall or read text in which he explains why he favors Public Option.

It is of vital importance that we know who these Blue Dogs are...contact them to let them know that we are watching their every move...and send them the message in record numbers that if they vote against us...they will not be voted in again.


CLICK HERE: For a list of the congressional members of the Blue Dog Coalition and the total (bribe money) they've received to their leadership PAC and candidate committees from the employees and PACs of various health-related industries and the health sector overall since 1989:

Evan Bayh (Indiana)
Mark Begich (Alaska)
Michael F. Bennet (Colo.)
Robert Byrd (W. Va.)
Thomas Carper (Del.)
Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.)
Kay R. Hagan (N.C.)
Herb Kohl (Wis.)
Blanche Lincoln (Ark.)
Joe Lieberman (Conn.)
Kent Conrad (N.D.)
Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Mark L. Pryor (Ark.)
Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.)
Mark Udall (Colo.)
Mark Warner (Va.)

To Learn MORE Watch Videos at

Single Payer Action.org




Thursday, July 9, 2009

Malia Obama Sends Message to G8 Leaders

DailyMail (UK)

Her father had just won agreement from the Russians to cut back on the world's stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

And Barack Obama's eldest daughter was obviously keen to make her own statement on the issue - even if it was merely a fashion statement.

Just 48 hours after the U.S. President signed agreements with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to reduce weapon stores, 11-year-old Malia Obama was spotted wearing not one, but two T-shirts with an anti-nuclear message.

She wore the tops emblazoned with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament's famous logo as her father prepared for three days of G8 talks in Italy.

First there was a grey T-shirt bearing the CND logo to visit the Colosseum in Rome with her mother Michelle and seven-year-old sister Sasha. Then during the visit she swapped it for a mottled white and grey top also bearing the logo.

The symbol, designed for the CND in 1958, is now widely used to signify peace and is also an international sign for anti-war protesters.

Mr Obama spent two days in Moscow this week meeting president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister and former president Vladimir Putin.

There the American and Russian leaders agreed a landmark deal to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We ARE The World !

Make That Change !

Friday, July 3, 2009

SaraCuda Resigns !
Palin Stepping Down as Governor

I really thought I was done talking about Sarah Palin, or at least hoped so, but today on the 4th of July eve we were hit with the bombshell that Governor Sarah Palin has chosen to step down from her 2 1/2 year Governor seat within a few weeks. Absolutely incredible ! In a news conference today in which she seemed totally spasmic, she explained that 'the media' had just been too hard on her.

From Shannyn Moore (HuffPost):

Rumors of an "iceberg scandal" have been circulating.

Resignation is certainly out of character for Sarah Palin. Senator Mark Begich had a meeting with Sarah Palin two days ago with no mention of her leaving office. Palin's press secretary, David Murrow had posted on his Facebook page Wednesday, "David Murrow is considering life's ironies." He was hired less than a month ago. Yesterday he wrote, "There's gonna be some fireworks this weekend!"

Palin's father, Chuck Heath, told Fox News that he thought her resignation was due to the negativity from the media. According to Heath, the governor was unable to be effective while she was constantly having to defend herself against ethics complaints and the media.

You betcha!

The Alaska Report reports the following: Big dirty scandal about to hit the Palin universe Evidenced by Palin's announcement that she's stepping down today. Stay tuned...

WATCH:Here's her strange press conference

UPDATE: Here's a link that breaks down her upcoming 'iceberg scandal':CLICK HERE

Will be fun to watch the right-wing pundits spin this total collapse as a brilliant move leading toward a victoriously glorious outcome....Yea right. What A Group !

Happy 4th of July !

CLICK B4B if video does not appear through server

Thursday, July 2, 2009

President Obama hugs cancer victim Debbie at Health Care Reform town hall

New Health Care Bill To Cover 97%
Costs Reduced by Billions


Office of the Press Secretary


JULY 2, 2009

Statement by the President on Health Care Reform Bill

Released by Senate HELP Committee Today

For decades, Washington has failed to act as health care costs continued to rise, crushing businesses, families and placing an unsustainable burden on governments. Today the Senate HELP committee has produced legislation that lowers costs, protects choice of doctors and plans and assures quality and affordable health care for Americans. The Congressional Budget Office has now issued a more complete review of this bill, concluding that it will cost less and cover more Americans than originally estimated. It also contains provisions that will protect the coverage Americans get at work. When merged with the Senate Finance Committee's companion pieces, the Senate will be prepared to vote for health reform legislation that does not add to the deficit, reduces health care costs and covers 97% of Americans.

The HELP Committee legislation reflects many of the principles I've laid out, such as reforms that will prohibit insurance companies from refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the concept of insurance exchanges where individuals can find affordable coverage if they lose their jobs, move or get sick. Such a marketplace would allow families and some small businesses the benefit of one-stop-shopping for their health care coverage and enable them to compare price and quality and pick the plan that best suits their needs.

Among the choices that would be available in the exchange would be a public health insurance option. The public option would make health care affordable by increasing competition, providing more choices and keeping the insurance companies honest.

The legislation also improves the quality of patient care, improves safety for patients and strengthens the commitment to preventive health care and preventing people from getting sick in the first place.

I thank chairman Kennedy, Senator Dodd, and all the members of the HELP Committee for their hard work on health reform.