Cantwell Statement Following President Barack Obama's Speech on Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement following President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on health care reform:


“Tonight, President Obama made a strong case for passing a meaningful health care plan.  We can no longer maintain the status quo. For the health of our citizens and our economy, we must extend health care coverage to those who don't have it now while protecting the coverage of those who do. 


“The key to both of these goals is reducing out-of-control costs and I believe that providing real competition in the health care insurance marketplace through a robust public option will help us get costs under control. I will be fighting to include a public option at every phase of the debate – as a member of the Finance Committee and on the Senate floor.


“Over the past decade, Americans have seen their insurance premiums rise by 120 percent. That translates into a $7,000 insurance premium increase for the average American family. And insurance premiums are expected to double again in the next decade.


“President Obama understands the importance of compensating health care providers the way we do in Washington state – based on the quality of care they provide, not the quantity of tests they order. If every other state in the country were as efficient as Washington, the nation would save more than $50 billion a year. And it’s important that our seniors understand that Medicare reform doesn’t mean less care, it means better care.”


In addition to supporting a strong public option for health insurance, Cantwell’s other reform priorities include:


  • Changing the Medicare reimbursement formula so that doctors in Washington state and other states that deliver quality care at reasonable costs are no longer penalized for their efficiency.


  • Increasing the availability of primary care physicians


  • Expanding options for long-term care so that seniors can opt to remain in their homes, enabling them to live with dignity while achieving significant Medicaid savings.