Democratic Senators Propose To Address Issue of the Uninsured in Next Congressional Session
Senators at a Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Tuesday proposed advancing efforts to extend health insurance to the nation's 43.6 million uninsured residents, CongressDaily reports. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) said, "As a nation, we should resolve that 2004 is the year we act to end America's health care crisis" (Heil, CongressDaily, 1/6). Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said the number of residents lacking health insurance is "one of the most important political issues facing the nation" and one that Democrats will pursue, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports (Shields, Baton Rouge Advocate, 1/7). Daschle added that he plans to introduce legislation this year that would address both the uninsured and rising health care costs. Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) said that he will advocate a mandate that he introduced in the last congressional session that would require all U.S. residents to have health insurance and that would provide government assistance to low-income residents (CongressDaily, 1/6). His plan would combine private insurers and government subsidies to achieve universal coverage. Breaux said he "intends to do everything in his power to bring the issue to the congressional forefront" in the next year before he retires, according to the Advocate (Baton Rouge Advocate, 1/7). Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has announced that he intends to pass legislation this session aimed at helping the uninsured, but he has not indicated what approach he will take, according to CongressDaily (CongressDaily, 1/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.