Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Says Health Care Bill Keeps Getting Better

July 30, 2009

Contact:  Jake Rubin
(202) 225-5665


(WASHINGTON, D.C.)  Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. says the health care reform legislation currently making its way through Congress is getting better with each new draft.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee resumed their mark-up of the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act after members of the committee and House Leadership reached a compromise on key portions of the legislation.

“This is still a work in progress, but with each new draft we have made improvements that will protect seniors, help small businesses and keep our economy on the road to recovery,” said Dr. Kagen.  “This legislation contains many of the essential elements of health care reform outlined by our 8th Congressional District Health Care Advisory Committee, including no discrimination based on pre-existing medical conditions, a standard benefits plan that all insurance companies must offer, and competition on a level playing field.  I am proud to say we are making a good bill better.”

Recent changes to the legislation under consideration will increase the number of small businesses who are exempt from the employer-based responsibility by doubling the exemption cut off to payrolls of $500,000; a provision that would require the public plan to negotiate rates with physicians and hospitals and then compete on a level playing field against private insurers; state-based co-ops will be established in order to increase choices and competition; enhanced delivery system reforms, including a new Innovation Center for Medicare and Medicaid to improve quality and increase efficiency; adjustments to the affordability credits and expansion of Medicaid will lower the cost of the bill by over $100 billion, and a commitment to work with Congressional Budget Office to produce a bill that costs less than $1 trillion.

Dr.  Kagen was part of a group of lawmakers with Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind that fought for changes in the legislation to contain Medicare costs.  Kagen also advocated for the expansion of the definition of small business for the employer-based responsibility.  In August, the three House committees will work to reconcile their versions and produce one piece of legislation.

“This is the legislative process.  I have voiced the concerns of people in the 8th District and my colleagues in Congress have voiced the concerns of their constituents.  We have taken into account all of these concerns and come out with a better bill,” said Kagen.  “I look forward to bringing this newest draft to people across Northeast Wisconsin to continue receiving their input.”

Kagen will be holding public listening sessions throughout Northeast Wisconsin in August to discuss this health care reform legislation.

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