Durbin, T. Kennedy: Fighting GOP health insurance bill. On Senate floor today.

SHARE Durbin, T. Kennedy: Fighting GOP health insurance bill. On Senate floor today.
SHARE Durbin, T. Kennedy: Fighting GOP health insurance bill. On Senate floor today.

It’s health care week in the Senate.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the number two Democrat in the Senate is leading a charge against a health insurance bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.)….debate today

KENNEDY, DURBIN, COLLEAGUES JOIN LEADING HEALTH ADVOCATES TO RALLY AGAINST ENZI HEALTH BILL S. 1955

Washington, D.C. TODAY, May 9 at 10:00 AM, Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Richard Durbin, and their Senate colleagues will join leading health advocacy organizations in opposition to the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S. 1955).

The bill has strong, widespread opposition because it includes damaging provisions to repeal existing laws that make health care coverage more affordable for millions of Americans. It sets up the barest of bare bones standards for benefits sweeping aside requirements to cover cancer screening, well baby care, immunization, access to specialists and many other needed services.

Democrats have offered a comprehensive alternative S.1955. The Small Employers Health Benefits Plan (S.2510) would allow small businesses with up to 100 employees to band together for lower health care prices by pooling their purchasing power and spreading their risk over a large number of participants.

WHO: SENATOR KENNEDY

SENATOR DURBIN

SENATE COLLEAGUES TBD

NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES

AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION

AMERICAN NURSES ASSOCIATION

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS

WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE

WHERE: RUSSELL PARK

(CORNER OF CONSTITUTION AND DELAWARE)

RAIN SITE: RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING ROOM 485

WHEN: 10:00 AM TUESDAY, MAY 9TH

==========================================================================

From Durbin’s office..

NON-PARTISAN HEALTH GROUP STUDY SAYS BUSH/ENZI BILL IS BAD MEDICINE FOR OVER

3.9 MILLION ILLINOISANS

Families USA Supports Durbin Alternative

[Washington, D.C.]- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) pointed to a study released today by one of the nation’s foremost consumer health advocacy groups, Families USA, showing that a Republican health insurance plan could cost 3.9 million Illinoisans critical health insurance benefits that are currently guaranteed by state law.

The study shows that small business health insurance legislation introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), S.1955, which is scheduled to be considered by the Senate this week, would have a negative impact on millions of health care consumers all across the nation by bypassing state-mandated coverage for many important health needs.

Far too many people cannot afford basic health insurance — 46 million people nationwide and 1.8 million people in Illinois. Hundreds of thousands more are under-insured,? said Durbin. “The Bush/Enzi bill will strip millions of Americans, even those currently insured, of basic health protections like mammographies, diabetes supplies, many cancer screenings and emergency health services.”

Families USA supports legislation Durbin has introduced as an alternative to the Bush/Enzi bill. Durbins bill, the Small Employers Health Benefits Program (SEHBP), will give small businesses affordable choices among private health insurance plans and expand access to health care coverage for their employees without attempting to dodge state benefit mandates.

The Families USA study notes that the Enzi bill would supersede state law, effectively bypassing state-mandated coverage for many important health needs and allow insurance companies to define benefits packages.

In Illinois, this legislation would remove basic health care guarantees for 3,899,000 residents, including: cervical cancer screening, diabetic supplies/education, mammography screening, ovarian cancer screening, bone density screening, alcoholism treatment, colorectal screening, contraceptives, dental anesthesia, emergency services, infertility treatment, minimum mastectomy stay, mental health care (general), mental health (parity), off-label drug use, parental HIV testing, prescription inhalants, prostate cancer screening, and TMJ disorders.

In contrast, under Durbins bill, SEHBP enrollees will be covered by state consumer protection laws, including all state mandated benefits. Durbin’s measure would allow small businesses across America to band together for lower health care prices by pooling their purchasing power and spreading their risk over a large number of participants. Employers would qualify for an annual tax credit to partially offset contributions on behalf of low-income employees.

The SEHBP proposal is modeled after the highly successful Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which has offered more than eight million government employees and retirees, including members of Congress and their staffs, a wide range of private health insurance choices for more than 40 years. SEHBP would give employees of small businesses access to a comparable range of private health plans.

Contrary to popular belief, Durbin noted that most of the people in Illinois who dont have insurance are not out of work — they work full time in small businesses struggling with double-digit premium increases and who cannot afford insurance for their workers. Congress must bring prices down to help these small business owners provide their employees with health insurance, but it does not have to be done at the expense of health benefits. This bill uses the power of the marketplace solve the price problem and still retains full coverage no matter where you live.

In addition to Families USA’s support, Durbin’s SEHBP proposal has been endorsed by an array of organizations including: the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, the Consumers Union, the Federation of American Hospitals, the National Association of Community Health Centers, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Small Business Majority, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, the National Mental Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Womens Law Center.

Durbin said he plans to offer his SEHBP proposal as an alternative to the Republican health insurance bill. Durbin has offered similar legislation in the past.

Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. For over 20 years, working at the national, state, and community levels, the group has earned a reputation as an effective voice for health care consumers.

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