Senators Make Health Reform Positions Known
News outlets examined various health-reform-related activities in the Senate.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that a "health care overhaul faces a tough sell among the Louisiana delegation:" "Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the bill pending ... isn't aggressive enough in trying to curb rising health care costs. But she also said that doing nothing is not an option with so many Louisiana families and small businesses unable to afford health coverage. She said the public insurance option offered in the latest Senate bill is a substantial improvement over previous proposals." Landrieu said she's continuing to work with moderates to see what they will support to come up with the 60 votes needed to pass legislation in the Senate (Alpert, 11/5).
The MinnPost: "In his second speech from the Senate floor, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., pushed for health care reform on Tuesday." Franken said "The Saudi Royal Family is willing to travel 7,500 miles to Rochester, Minnesota, to get great care at the Mayo Clinic. For a woman in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and her adult son, both with diabetes, that same great care is less than 300 miles away... but it's really a world away. That's because if you're an American, you can get great health care, too," he continued. "But only if you can make it through the terrible system, and only if you can afford it" (Dizikes, 11/4).
CQ Healthbeat reports that Sen. Tom Harkin said a critical element of reform is that the "legislation includes an array of measures to increase prevention and guard against chronic and costly health problems that contribute to a majority of deaths" (Norman, 11/4).
Finally, a hand-delivered letter gave staffers a scare at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office Wednesday, Roll Call reports. A letter from former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, in an "unusual" envelope, was scrutinized by security after it showed up in Reid's office sometime after 2 p.m. Koop "had typed a few pages on his views on health care reform, suggesting that Reid insert a provision to ensure that doctors and medical students not be forced to perform abortions" (Yehle, 11/5).