Senator Reid announced this afternoon that the Senate would not be able to have a full vote on a health care bill before August. This is extremely disappointing. The delay means that our families must wait even longer for the health care they need, must struggle harder to afford their coverage, and more people will become uninsured.
This delay must not and should not derail the reform efforts. Rather, it makes it even more imperative that the Senate works harder to finalize a bill during the August recess so that they can take swift action in September. And it is up to us to hold them accountable and make sure this happens.
Health care reform is not and should not be about politics. It is about people. It is about making sure every parent can access health care when their child is sick. It is about that entrepreneur who puts off starting a business because he wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance. It’s about keeping Nebraskans healthy so our communities are vibrant and our economy remains viable because our greatest resource, our workers, are healthy and productive.
We must remember that there is a great deal of consensus that has been reached on so many critical components of health care reform. There is broad agreement, even from the insurance companies, that you should not be denied care for an illness you had five years ago. It’s wrong. Most agree that insurance companies should be vying for our business. We shouldn’t have to prove that we are healthy enough to get insured. Nearly everyone agrees that our system must be focused on wellness and prevention and the proposals in Congress right now all make important changes to the delivery system to meet that goal.
Given this consensus, reform can and must happen. It remains critically urgent. The opposition’s attempt to delay efforts ignore the realities that face most families nationally and in Nebraska. As a recent report from Families USA shows, the current proposal in the House would provide health care access to the vast majority of uninsured Nebraskans.
We are at a truly historic moment and we cannot afford to fail. But health care reform cannot rest in the hands of our policymakers and politicians alone. We have a great opportunity as Nebraskans to help shape our future. We hope you will engage in this debate and call our Senators in support of health care reform.