Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Bennett, Emerson Back Wyden Health Care Bill

By Mary Agnes Carey, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

May 2, 2007 – Sen. Ron Wyden's plan to provide health insurance to all Americans has attracted new GOP sponsorship in both chambers, a move that may boost the Oregon Democrat's efforts to pass the bill this year.

In the Senate, Robert F. Bennett of Utah has signed as the lead Republican sponsor of the bill (S 334), while Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri will assume that role in the House.

Meanwhile, another Democratic lawmaker lending his support during a Wednesday news conference was Brian Baird, D-Wash., who said he had discussed the legislation with Wyden during their long plane flights back home to the West Coast.

Wyden's proposal aims to provide health insurance to all Americans without increasing the $2.3 trillion spent annually on health care in the United States. Under Wyden's plan, the system of employment-linked health insurance would end.

Bennett said Republicans have resisted the idea of universal coverage due to fears that it would create a government-run single payer system. Democrats, in turn, have feared that individuals would not benefit in a health care system where private market forces dominate.

But since both parties would like the issue of the uninsured to be resolved before the next administration takes office, it's in their best interest to pass the legislation now, Bennett said.

To be sure, Bennett would like to see a few changes Wyden's bill, including how tax incentives in the measure affect states and what is the benefit package and who gets to determine it.

Wyden remains open. "This is not set in stone," he said.

Publication Details