National Campaign for Health Care Reform
Public Forum on Health Care Reform (Irene Coogan)
Can We Look for Education Reform (Marion Saunders)
Membership Orientation Meetings (Grace Furukawa)
Busy 1994 Agenda for P & Z Committee (Astrid Monson)
Waikiki Rezoning Workshop (Astrid Monson)
Hawaii Is Seeing Too Much Violence
League of Women Voters of Honolulu Budget Report
National Campaign for Health Care Reform
Health care reform will be National League's top priority Congressional lobbying in 1994, according to the Post-Board Summary following the January, 1994 meeting of the LWVUS Board of Directors and the LWVEF Board of Trustees.
League's bottom line is health care reform that guarantees universal access to quality health care for all U.S. residents, no matter their ability to pay, and stringent cost controls for health care outlays, according to the report.
League has joined two coalitions working for comprehensive health care reform: The Health Care Reform Project which includes a number of consumer groups, labor unions, medical providers, senior citizen groups and businesses, and the Campaign for Health Security which supports the single-payer approach and includes consumer groups unions, religious groups and senior citizens organizations.
League supports both President Clinton's health reform plan, the Health Security Act (HR 3600/S 1575) and the Wellstone/McDermott single-payer bill (HR 1200/S 491) because they meet the test of accomplishing comprehensive reform.
According to the Action Alert that we have just received from National, under HR 3600, for the first time, all Americans will be guaranteed coverage for preventive, primary and acute care; and reproductive health services including abortion, are in the plan. Mental health services and long-term care are also included, but are limited to keep costs down. HR 3600/ S 1757 includes cost containment measures. It reduces administrative costs (for instance, there would be one universal insurance form) and sets a national health budget with the aim of limiting the rate of increase of health care spending.
The Health Security Act addresses many additional issues of concern to the League such as bringing health care to the underserved and women's health. HR 3600/ S 1757 establishes programs and incentives to guarantee that urban and rural areas will be fully served and that health professionals will be trained to serve the health needs of all Americans. While the legislation addresses the issue of citizen participation in key decision-making bodies, League believes that there needs to be an even stronger citizen presence and will work to see that these provisions are strengthened.
THE AMERICAN HEALTH SECURITY ACT
HR1200/S 491, the single-payer plan is known as the American Health Security Act. It will establish a single-payer system of federal government-sponsored health insurance administered by the states.
It provides a comprehensive benefits package covering primary, acute and long-term care. The program will be funded by combination of an 814 percent payroll tax, closing of tax loopholes, consolidation of federal programs and premiums for long term care. Like HR 3600, the American Health Security Act will provide universal coverage for all Americans while providing for strict cost containment.
CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS' TIME LINE
House Energy and Commerce Committee and Ways & Means Committee reports out a health reform bill. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and Finance Committee to continue to hold hearings and are expected to vote out their version of health reform legislation later in the spring.
Floor debate in House and Senate
Conference Committee to iron out differences.
Late Fall Final Vote
Leagues all over the U.S. are sponsoring 60 high-visibility public forums, bringing citizens together with members of Congress, issue experts and media representatives to share their views on shaping the future of health care in this country. (See separate article on the Honolulu Forum)
Reinforcing these efforts is a media blitz called "Straight Facts on Health Care Reform." These print and television ads focus on the facts and faces behind the statistics reporting 39 million Americans without access to health insurance.
JOIN THE DEBATE
Past and future League publications provide background information and talking points for our involvement in the debate that has started and will assuredly intensify in the months to come.
National Voter, June/July 1993 Features League position on health care adopted in April of 1993 with some background information.
National Voter, Dec/Jan 1994 Article entitled "Whose Interest?" discusses the health industry's attempt to shape the debate on health reform in the way they want it after years of trying to squash all debate. It gives citizens pointers on how to get involved in the debate. Also, guest writers comment on the health needs and concerns of specific communities of Americans.
National Voter, March/April (soon to be distributed)
Includes extensive coverage of the Leagues' position and the Congressional outlook, including an outline of the primary health care bills that have been introduced.
Aloha Voter, October, 1993 Includes highlights of the Clinton Health Plan as reported in the New York Times and a statement by League president, Becky Cain, on the President's plan.
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