WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement in response to the draft health reform legislation proposed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT):
“I appreciate the hard work Senator Baucus and his staff have put into this draft, and I will review it carefully before coming to any final conclusions. We have work ahead of us to combine the best elements of this legislation with the bill we passed through the Senate Health Committee.
“As the Finance Committee goes to work on this proposal, it needs to give Americans a real choice of a health plan that competes with the private insurance market. It would be great if insurance co-ops would emerge in every corner of the country, but betting on that is like hoping you’ll draw to an inside straight.
"We need to pass a bill that gives Americans a choice of affordable, quality health plans and insurance they can count on -- even if they get sick or have a pre-existing medical condition. That means passing a strong public option that keeps insurers honest and lowers costs. And it means support for business to provide health care to their employees.
"I am disappointed that Senator Baucus' efforts to meet his Republican colleagues halfway have been stonewalled by Republicans on the Finance Committee. Even though he has shown a willingness to jettison provisions important to many Democrats, Republicans have shown no interest after months of good-faith discussions.
"If we are going to provide Americans with peace of mind that their health insurance will not be priced out of reach, it looks like it is going to be up to Democrats to do so."