HAGERSTOWN, MD –
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today held a Town Hall Meeting at Hagerstown Community College to outline the various health care proposals that are being considered by the House and the Senate.
Congress is expected to consider health care reform legislation when it returns from its August recess in September.
The Senator told the audience that he wants to ensure that Americans are able to maintain their health coverage, but that “we also must expand health care coverage to all Americans – inaction is not an option.” Currently, 47 million Americans and 760,000 Marylanders have no health insurance.
“We cannot afford our current health care system — a system in which health care costs increased by 78 percent between 2001 and 2008 and in which last year we spent $2.4 trillion while failing to provide coverage to approximately 47 million Americans,” said
Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Budget Committee.
“Health care costs are rising much faster than wages and the top priority of any health care reform bill must be to bring down costs.
“Our doctors and hospitals may practice the best medicine in the world, but we have a health care system that is seriously ill.
Today, millions of Americans who have no insurance rely on expensive emergency room visits for their primary care, often after they have become much sicker and more costly to treat.
It is time that all Americans have access to a health care system that emphasizes preventive care, healthy life choices and that efficiently and effectively treats individuals with chronic illnesses.”
Senator Cardin told those attending the Town Hall that he supports improving and expanding our current employer-based, private insurance system, but he believes a public option for those who may not have access to health coverage would expand choice and help keep down costs.
“A public option only affects how we collect and pay for health care. It does not mean government interference with your selection of a doctor or hospital.
Medicare is a good example of a public program that has worked well and I want to build on that type of experience.”