03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Supporting a Robust Public Option

As debate continues on much needed health care reform, I urge my Senate colleagues to support a robust public option plan. It's important that the President's ideas on the public option be implemented to maintain a level playing field.

The public option will create competition in the marketplace and will help to provide affordable choices for American families. It will also allow us to greatly expand the number of Americans with health insurance, and that is an imperative.

When President Obama's call for health care reform came under right wing attack this summer, as millions saw in my well-publicized Health Care Town Hall meetings, I pushed back at the critics in order to set the record straight about the direction of health care reform.

As competing bills come up for votes in the Senate, here's the type of bill I'm for:

  • I'm for a bill that provides for universal coverage.
  • I'm for a bill which is deficit neutral.
  • I'm for a bill which has specific savings, such as annual examinations to have early detection of diseases.
  • I'm for a bill that does not deny coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions and bans annual and lifetime caps on coverage.
  • I'm for a bill which will bring mandatory sentences for Medicare and Medicaid fraud because it will be a deterrent as opposed to fines.
  • I'm for a bill which will further increase funding for the National Institutes of Health to prevent a lot of illnesses.
  • I'm for a bill that does not erect a massive bureaucracy between the doctor and the patient.

The bottom line is that Americans have a right to be healthy and stay healthy. As I've done throughout my career, I will continue to push for better health care for all Americans.