Affordability is the key…

It’s worth repeating, at the beginning and the end of the health reform discussion: Affordability is paramount. As the House and Senate begin their negotiations over a final health reform bill, that needs to be the central question: does the bill provide people the help they need to afford coverage? This is important for people and for policymakers, as policy and as politics.

That’s the subject of the letter was signed by more than 750 organizations, organizational leaders, congregations, clergy and local and state elected officials, from 46 states, representing more than 100 million people.

The United States is closer than ever before to making quality affordable health care available to all families.

Yet, health care reform can only succeed if it makes coverage truly affordable for
ordinary families who are finding it more and more difficult to get the care they
need. Requiring people to purchase health insurance that costs too much and
covers too little would frustrate the fundamental goals of health reform and
undermine the public support needed to pass and sustain reform.

The House of Representatives has passed health reform legislation that would
cover 36 million people, 96 percent of all legal residents. The House covers five
million more people than the Senate. We urge you to support the coverage
provisions in the House bill, so that millions of Americans are not left uninsured
after the passage of comprehensive health reform.

On the critical question of making coverage affordable, the House legislation sets
premiums and out-of-pocket costs at levels that are likely to be affordable to lower-income working families. The House does a much better job in protecting lower-income people. The Senate approach provides somewhat better protections for middle-income workers, but would require lower-wage workers to buy insurance that costs many thousands of dollars more than the House legislation. We urge you to take the best elements of both approaches to create legislation that would protect all families from costs they cannot afford.

The letter was sponsored by our partner groups Community Catalyst, PICO, SEIU, Center for Community Change, and many other groups. We were pleased to be work with and be joined by dozens and dozens of key California leaders in this effort.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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