Who’s Supporting a Public Option?

Sixteen senators (and counting, hopefully) have signed on to a letter asking for a vote on a public option for health insurance.  Check the list and contact your congresscritters if they haven’t signed on.

I’ve written Senator Kerry and Congressman Markey about this, and they’ve both signed on to support bringing a public option to a vote.  A while back, I posted Kerry’s response to me.  Here’s what Markey had to say:

Dear Mr. Charbonneau:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for inclusion of the public option in health care reform. It was good to hear from you.

As a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I proudly voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) on November 7, 2009, a comprehensive health reform bill that included a public option, which I strongly supported.

This health care bill would reform abuses in the existing health insurance market to provide stability and security to Americans who currently have health insurance. Our bill would strengthen your coverage by preventing insurance companies from denying you coverage due to a pre-existing condition or dropping your coverage when you get sick.

The public option is one important component of the House health reform bill. If you don’t have insurance, if you work in a small business, or if the plan offered through your employer is not affordable, the House bill would allow you to choose from several quality, affordable choices in the new National Exchange, which is based on the Commonwealth Connector in Massachusetts. The public option would be one of the many insurance plans available through the Exchange.

The public option would add needed competition and choice to the current health insurance market. It would compete on a level playing field with private insurers and would be subject to the same rules and consumer protections. In fact, after the public option is up and running it would be self-sustaining and no longer receive government funding. The public option provides a means to keep insurance companies accountable by demonstrating that high-quality care can be affordable. No one would be forced to choose the public option for insurance coverage – it would simply be one of the choices available to Americans seeking insurance through the National Exchange.

While Congress is currently considering various options for moving health care reform forward, I remain firmly committed to working to pass the strongest, most comprehensive health care bill possible.

Thank you again for sharing your views with me on the critical issue of health care reform. Please feel free to contact me about this or any other issue of concern. If you would like to receive updates from my office, please go to my website, http://markey.house.gov/, and click on “Newsletter Sign Up.”

Ed Markey
Member of Congress

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