Iowa State Senator Jack Hatch was in Washington yesterday to chair the first meeting of a working group on health care. According to a White House press release,
State Legislators for Health Reform includes leaders from across the country who will educate their communities on the need for health reform this year. The legislators will host public events, author opinion pieces in local publications, and use their established networks to organize constituents in support of health reform.
The Iowa Senate Democrats issued a statement from Hatch, who said the state legislators told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that "state-level health care reforms can only go so far." He added that Sebelius
"stressed the need to expand choices in the health insurance market is essential. Increased competition will lower costs and improve patient care.
"That's why we all agreed that Americans must have a public health insurance option and now is the time to speak up."
A public option that makes health insurance more accessible and affordable for adults is also likely to improve the health of children. Kevin Concannon of the Iowa Department of Human Services explained why in his contribution to the Reforming States Group's May 2009 Healthy States/Healthy Nation report:
Ultimately, to achieve better health care access and better health status for children, the United States needs to cover parents as an essential, linked strategy for children. If parents have health insurance, they will better utilize the health care systems available to their children.
If you believe that real health care reform requires a public option for health insurance, you have two new and easy ways to do something about it. Neither will take more than a minute or two of your time.
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