WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement upon release of the President's health reform proposal:

"I applaud the President for charting this new path forward for health reform. The President's proposal would reduce the deficit, ensure that more Americans have affordable health coverage, and lower premiums for middle-class families and small businesses. While Republicans have not yet offered proposals to accomplish these goals, I hope they will use Thursday's bipartisan health summit as an opportunity to bring constructive ideas to the table.

"Too many insurance companies are reaping record profits, yet raising premiums for consumers. The President's proposal would put an end to arbitrary premium increases by establishing a new commission to review and prevent these increases. The proposal would also ban insurance companies from denying care if you have a pre-existing condition or placing lifetime or annual caps on the amount of care you can receive.

"For too long, Congress has sat idly by while health costs have undermined the competitiveness of our nation's small businesses and the security of our middle class households. Republicans say they support health reform, but the only ideas they've put forward involve privatizing Medicare and Social Security or giving more power to the insurance and drug industries. It is my hope that the President's proposal and the bipartisan health summit will give American families and businesses the real reform they deserve."

                                                         ###