NU Online News Service, Jan. 15, 1:01 p.m. — Washington
Two leading senators are preparing bipartisan legislation that would create a commission to develop a comprehensive health care reform plan.
Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, say they will shortly introduce the “Health Care That Works for All Americans Act.”
If enacted, the legislation will establish a Citizens’ Health Care Working Group that will conduct meetings across the country seeking public input on what people want in terms of health care reform and what they are willing to pay for.
The working group will write a report to Congress. The relevant congressional committees will then be given six months to develop legislation that reflects the conclusions of the report.
If the committees fail to act within six months, any member of Congress could force a vote.
In a recent speech at the National Press Club, Wyden said the time for the legislation is now.
“I believe Congress has the best opportunity it has had in years to enact meaningful health reform,” he said.
For one thing, Wyden said, the new Senate leader, Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has a longstanding interest in health policy.
Moreover, he said, the public is fed up with inaction on issues that should have been resolved years ago, and there is growing evidence that the need for broad reform is urgent.