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Senate Finance To Examine Economics Of Health Care Reform

The latest in a series of hearings on health care reform will take place Wednesday on Capitol Hill, with a special focus being paid to the economic side of the issue. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) announced the hearing Monday, as Senators will weigh how to balance health care concerns in light of the overarching economic crisis.

The hearing is part of a year-long series designed to tackle the problem of health care in the United States. Last week, Baucus released his "A Call To Action: Health Reform 2009" paper Wednesday, in which he stressed the need for health care reform and outlined his ideas for such reform.

"It is the duty of the next President and the next Congress to reform America's health care system," Baucus said in the paper. "In 2009, Congress must take up and act on meaningful health reform legislation that achieves universal coverage while also addressing the underlying problems in our health system."

He called the case for reform "strong" and argued that the US was "the only developed country that does not guarantee health coverage for all its citizens, with 46 million uninsured and another 25 million underinsured."

Baucus further claimed that "consumers, businesses, labor, providers, plans, manufacturers, and state and local governments...are signaling that they are ready and willing to engage in serious and comprehensive reform of a health system in crisis."

Witnesses at Tuesday's hearing will include Ivan G. Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications, Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union, Uwe E. Reinhardt, Ph.D., the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University, and Amitabh Chandra, an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, the Senate Finance Committee said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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