I will be in Washington, D.C. today discussing healthcare with officials at the White House. I'm honored that President Barack Obama and his administration value my opinion. I will be fighting for quality, affordable health care for all at this meeting. To find out more about my views and the meeting, please read the press release and the letter to President Obama and Congress below.
Sinema to discuss health care with top U.S. officials at White House TODAY
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema will present President Obama and Congress today at the U.S. Capitol with a letter calling for passage of comprehensive federal health care reform this year.
The letter (attached) is signed by 650 state legislators from across the nation, including 16 Democrats from Arizona.
“Our nation’s health care system is broken and families and businesses are being crushed by high health care costs,” Sinema said. “In this letter, we pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high-quality and affordable health care for all.”
Sinema recently was selected as one of 32 state legislators nationwide to Obama’s White House Health Reform Task Force (see press release). She will present the letter with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and other state legislators from across the country in conjunction with Progressive States Network, on which she serves as a board member.
Sinema then will join other state legislators at the White House for a press conference with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy-Ann De Parle, Director of the White House Office of Health Care Reform.
There, the task force will announce support for a public health insurance option and their action plan to talk with Americans to determine what they need from Washington, D.C. to get a workable, affordable, quality health care option in the United States.
“The effects of these health care problems stress state budgets, exhaust family resources and literally cause thousands of deaths per year,” Sinema said. “We must enact nationwide, comprehensive health care reform now.”
Press conference and Presentation of letter to President Obama and Congress
When: 1:15 p.m. Eastern Time (10:15 a.m. Arizona time)
Where: Russell Senate Office Building, Room 385, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
Press conference with Secretary Sebelius and Director De Parle
When: 3 p.m. Eastern Time (Noon Arizona time)
Where: In front of the White House
Sinema will meet with Sebelius and De Parle as well as U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to discuss health care reform. She will also join White House Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett at the 2009 State Progressive Leaders Gala to honor the achievements of state legislators and advocates who have worked toward health care reform.
A Letter to President Obama and the Congress
Dear President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Members of the 111th US Congress:
As leaders in state legislatures across the country, we urgently call on President Obama and the U.S. Congress to take up and pass comprehensive health care reform in 2009. The serious problems with health care in America – ever-rising costs, limited access, inconsistent quality, and waste and inefficiency – converge in the states. The effects of these problems stress state budgets, exhaust family resources, result in lost worker productivity, stifle entrepreneurial spirit, and literally cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.
Our disjointed health care system has formed a choke-hold on our economy, limiting job growth and economic development. We cannot fix the economy without fixing health care.
Over the past decade, state legislatures have debated and implemented a myriad of reforms to bring affordability, quality and fairness to health care in America – designing solutions that reflect each state’s unique economic, social, and geographic factors. States play a vital role in the health care for hundreds of millions of Americans, by administering and helping to fund public programs like Medicaid and SCHIP, enacting innovations to expand access to public and private coverage, and serving as watchdogs of health insurance companies and other players.
Yet, states cannot achieve guaranteed affordable health care for all without the investment, leadership and partnership of the federal government. Successful reform requires robust federal-state collaboration.
Key priorities for reform are reflected in recent state initiatives and public opinion polls which show that Americans want more choices and options for quality health care. Americans recognize that the private sector alone has proven incapable of creating a high-quality, fair, and accountable health care system that works for all families. Therefore, a key priority for reform is the choice of a public health insurance plan that is available to businesses, individuals, and families. Another key priority is strengthening and expanding the Medicaid program with the help of enhanced federal support so that it can serve all low-income Americans. Related priorities include: guaranteeing affordability for individuals and businesses; preserving consumer choice of doctors; eliminating racial, ethnic, gender, and rural health disparities; ensuring shared responsibility among employers, individuals and government in financing health care; and, cost containment strategies that eliminate waste and inefficiency and improve quality, especially for people with chronic illnesses.
Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets, undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure. The recently passed economic recovery package includes a number of positive health care measures, but these do not remove states from the critical list. Achieving a high-performing, affordable and quality health care system for all US residents is central to a sustainable economic recovery and to the health and financial security of all families, businesses, and governments.
We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality, affordable health care for all.