January 21, 2010

 

To:       Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

From:    Mary G. Wilson, President

Re:       Enact Health Care Reform Now

The League of Women Voters urges you to do what is necessary to finish work on health care reform in order to send a bill quickly to the President for his signature.  While many of the provisions of the House bill are preferable to those from the Senate, we urge you to accept the Senate bill if other paths to enactment of comprehensive reform are not available. 

We have a health care crisis in America.  Too many citizens lack adequate health insurance coverage and rising costs threaten everyone.  The failure of Congress to act on these issues over decades has simply compounded the problems and undermined faith in government. 

Both the House and Senate have now passed comprehensive health care legislation, and the bills share many essential elements:  they greatly expand health care coverage to include millions more Americans; they protect the coverage that currently delivers care to most; they contain essential elements to reduce costs over the long term; and they accomplish these goals at a reasonable cost.  Either bill would represent an important, indeed an historic, step forward.  Leaving the current system in place, after both the House and Senate have acted, and acted responsibly, would be a travesty. 

Opponents of health care reform have adopted a strategy of fear, delay and obfuscation.  They have relied on the anti-majoritarian rules of the Senate.  And they have misled and lied about the provisions of the legislation.  These fundamentally anti-democratic tactics cannot be allowed to prevail. 

Medicare was enacted over strong opposition from those who opposed “socialized medicine.”  Social Security was adopted despite loud and prolonged complaints.  Yet, both these systems are now sacrosanct.  Many other accomplishments, from civil rights to environmental protection, were controversial when first adopted but have proven to be critical steps forward.  Health care reform is part of that tradition.  

We understand that there may be a number of ways for health care reform to succeed.  None of these possibilities will accomplish all that needs to be done, and Congress will need to revisit many issues in coming years.  But any of these alternatives moves us toward successful health care reform and thus is better than the status quo.

The League of Women Voters strongly urges you not to miss this historic opportunity to enact comprehensive health care reform legislation.