Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Harry Reid Really Thinks About Health Care

Wow! I just got a letter back from Harry Reid's Senate office on health care. And better yet, he's finally giving us the Nevada voters some specifics on what he wants seen in the final Senate bill. I just hope this means he'll fight like hell for something that looks more like the HELP Committee bill and not the Baucus Caucus crap.

Perhaps we need to drop him another line and encourage him to keep up the good work on health care. Again, I don't mind the wait until September just so long as we get something good out of the wait.

July 30, 2009

Mr. Andrew Davey



Henderson, Nevada 89074

Dear Mr. Davey:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

In America today, concerns about our health care system have been rightly brought to the forefront of the national consciousness. Many of us are familiar with the reports of 47 million uninsured Americans, escalating prescription drug prices, and declining health insurance benefits. Unfortunately, for too many across Nevada and the country, these facts and statistics are not anonymous findings removed from daily life. As a fellow Nevadan, and as the Senate Majority Leader, I know that millions like you are struggling with the reality of America's health care crisis.

Amid our health care crisis, however, I believe there are opportunities for members of Congress, the President and his Administration, the private sector, and other stakeholders to work together for the benefit of the American people. It is my hope that the solutions we develop and enact will ensure quality, affordable health care coverage for all Americans-regardless of their age, income, employment, or health status. I share your dismay about the state of health care in this country, and as we work toward comprehensive reform, I am also mindful of minimizing disruptions for those fortunate enough to have good coverage. Therefore, I believe that if you prefer the coverage you have, you should be able to keep it. I also support the creation of a public option that would keep the insurance companies honest and provide care that puts patients first. Real reform will also eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions, guarantee coverage to everyone regardless of health status or gender, and strictly limit age rating.

During the 111th session of Congress, we have already made significant improvements to our healthcare and public health systems. For example, in February we passed an expansion and extension of the vital Children's Health Insurance Program (P.L. 111-3), known as Nevada Check Up in our state. This legislation will expand coverage to an additional 4.1 million low-income children across our country. I am also pleased that as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5), billions of dollars have been allocated for health information technology, the National Institute of Health for research and development, and for prevention and wellness programs. In addition, the federal matching payments for state Medicaid programs have been increased, and a temporary subsidy for COBRA premiums has been implemented to help ease the burden for hard-working families affected by the economic crisis. Finally, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (P.L. 111-31) was signed into law by President Obama on June 22, 2009. This legislation, which I cosponsored, gives the FDA the legal authority necessary to reduce youth smoking, prevent the sale of tobacco to minors, help current smokers quit, reduce the toxicity of tobacco products, and stop the tobacco industry from misleading the public with their understated claims about the dangers of using tobacco products.

We have taken the first steps in a long, arduous journey towards reform, and there is still much more to be done. Please know that as we move forward, I will keep your ideas and concerns in mind. It is my hope that we can make affordable, comprehensive health coverage a reality for so many Americans who are currently struggling to pay their medical bills, and make ends meet.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. For more information about my work for Nevada, my role in the United States Senate Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my Web site at I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

My best wishes to you.



United States Senator


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