Nelson: Few want no action on health care
WASHINGTON -- Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson said today that few Nebraskans attending his public meetings want Congress to do nothing to reform health care in America. He also said that bipartisan agreement already exists on significant reforms that would improve Nebraskans' health care, while not increasing the deficit or creating a large new role for the federal government.
"While I've heard from Nebraskans expressing strong support for the President's health care reform proposals, and from other Nebraskans just as opposed, and those who mainly want specific questions answered, when I've asked who wants nothing done the message is clear: Few raise their hands," said Senator Nelson who held public meetings today in North Platte and Kearney. "That tells me, while opinions vary, many Nebraskans want improvements in our health care system. I am committed to listening to and talking to people across our state, so that I can carry their views back to Washington for the continuing health care debate this fall."
"Nebraskans have been civil and serious as we've had open and honest discussions about health care, as I knew we would," Nelson added. "Once again, I'm proud to be a Nebraskan because, even though feelings run high on this issue, we are having a civil exchange of ideas."
Senator Nelson has been fielding several dozen questions and comments from Nebraskans at each public meeting, and explaining his position on key health reform issues. He's also encouraging those attending the meetings and all Nebraskans to write to him and share their views.
Today, he said that he continues to hope a bipartisan bill can be developed this fall that will reduce the cost of health care and improve quality, while not increasing the deficit. Reforms also should help make health coverage available to Nebraskans now unable to obtain it without jeopardizing health coverage for 85 percent of Nebraskans who have coverage today, he said.
Nelson noted that already bipartisan agreement exists in Congress to promote wellness programs, preventive care efforts and expand health information technology that would streamline care, improve the lives of millions of Americans and hold down costs. There also is broad support for reforms that simplify and guarantee affordable coverage, to eliminate insurer's ability to deny coverage or charge higher premiums because of pre-existing medical conditions and to improve the delivery of health care, he said.
"I will not support anything until I've seen everything in a final bill, and I think we should focus more on areas we agree and less on the most divisive issues in health care reform," Nelson said. "We have an opportunity to help many Americans struggling daily with health care issues, but we have to do it the right way."
This month Nelson is holding public meetings in Omaha, Lincoln, North Platte, Kearney, Norfolk, South Sioux City, and possibly other communities. Details of the meetings and other health care issues are posted online at: www.bennelson.senate.gov.