Michigan Congressman John Conyers: Public Option Is Necessary
"I want to applaud the President for taking decisive action...to end the stalemate to reform our broken health care system," said Conyers. "It is my hope that his speech tomorrow night will inspire Members of the House and Senate to place the needs of the American people above petty bickering and partisan obstructionism.
"It is clear that real reform means injecting real competition into the insurance market to improve affordability and drive down health care costs. The centerpiece of this reform is a robust Medicare-like public health insurance plan tied to the Medicare provider system. Like many of my colleagues in both the House and Senate, I will oppose any health care reform bill that lacks such a plan. I will also oppose any legislation that seeks to replace a robust public health insurance option with health care cooperatives or which ties the availability of the public option to a trigger mechanism. In this effort, I stand in solidarity with House progressives, the majority of my friends in organized labor, millions of health care providers, and 72 percent of the American people.
"Boosting the profits of the health insurance industry without fundamentally changing the way they do business would be nothing but sham reform. I believe Congress can and will reject calls for such half measures and will include a robust public option in any legislation that reaches the President's desk later this year."
Here is a more recent and more specific statement by Congressman Conyers regarding what changes need to be made to current legislation:
“The existing limits in the bill for cost sharing - $5,000 per year for individuals and $10,000 per year for families - are woefully insufficient and would place many Americans at risk for incurring medical debt or foregoing needed care,” writes Conyers. “As such, H.R. 3200 should be amended to ensure that no individual or family will have to pay more than 2.5 percent of its adjusted gross income on out-of-pocket costs. Coupled with the affordability credits already provided in the bill, this cap on out-of-pocket costs would ensure that individuals and families will not be subject to medical debt or medical bankruptcy as a result of using their plans to treat illness or injury.”