Health Care Reform Will Ensure Quality Coverage for All

07/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Rep. George Miller Rep. George Miller (CA-11) is the senior Democratic member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Below are the prepared remarks of Chairman George Miller at a press conference with the chairs of the other committees with health policy jurisdiction at the U.S. House of Representatives to unveil the Tri-Committee Discussion Draft for Health Care Reform.

Today marks a historic moment in America's urgent quest to fix our broken health insurance system.

For the past six months, our three committees -- the committees that have jurisdiction over health care in the House -- have worked together in an unprecedented manner to develop and present a health care reform discussion draft to Congress and the American people that embodies President Obama's call for fundamental change in our health care system.

President Obama asked us to draft a reform bill that will control costs, guarantee choice, and ensure quality and affordable health coverage for all Americans.

I believe that our draft lives up to those essential principles. Our discussion draft reflects months of hard work and the views of many of our colleagues.

We've met with our respective Democratic and Republican committee members, with our Senate colleagues, with the CBO, and with administration officials in an open and collaborative process.

To further this open and collaborative process, our three committees will hold hearings on this draft starting next week.

After the July Fourth district work period, our committees will then work to make refinements to the draft, vote on it, and send a bill to the House floor.

This is truly exciting news.

The House decided to use this unified approach because we recognized that our ability to succeed at health care reform rests in our ability to work together.

We know that inside-the-beltway turf battles will not advance reforms.

We believe that in order to change America's health care system, Congress itself must change.

When the voters elected Barack Obama President, they did not only send a message that the White House must change.

They sent an equally strong message to the Congress that we must work together for the common good of our nation.

They told us that we will not be rewarded for standing on the sidelines or for raising every conceivable argument against taking action.

Americans will judge us, and rightly so, by our willingness and our determination to cooperate and focus on the ultimate and necessary goal of reforming our health care system so that it works not just for the few but for everyone in our country.

That is why the approach that the three of us have taken in this process is one of the key factors that makes this year the year that we will finally fix our broken health care system.

The current path is unsustainable. No one disagrees with that.

Health care premiums have spiraled out of control - dealing a crushing blow to families and businesses alike and placing our fiscal future in peril. Rising costs are unsustainable.

President Obama is absolutely correct when he says that health care reform is essential to the health of our nation and the strength of our economy.

In fact, health care reform is the single greatest tool to reduce runaway budget deficits.

Our discussion draft is the first step in building a truly American solution that will reduce costs, offer real choice, and guarantee affordable, quality health care for all.

It will build a health care system that emphasizes keeping Americans healthy, not waiting until they become sick to get treated.

In the coming weeks, our committees will continue to seek input from all the stakeholders, the American people, and all members of Congress.

But let me say again that we must and we will continue to move forward. If there is one thing that is 'off of the table' it is saying 'no' to health care reform.

There is not one child, not one worker, not one employer, nor one taxpayer who can further bear the cost of doing nothing.

I am confident that we have the ability to respond to their needs.

I'd like to thank Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, the rest of our Democratic Leadership, and all of our Caucus for giving us the support and input we've needed to develop this uniquely American solution for finally bringing quality, affordable health care to our country.

Cross-posted at the EdLabor Journal.