Congressman Sandy Levin : Health Care
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Congressman Sandy Levin
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Americans spend nearly $2 trillion a year on health care, a 27 percent increase just since 2001. At the same time, wages for the typical family have failed to keep pace with inflation, and many employers have struggled to continue providing health insurance, particularly as they compete with global competitors that do not have the same employee health costs. The percentage of Americans without health insurance has reached a record high.

In recent years, Congress has been engaged in a serious debate about whether the federal government should take action to address the high cost of health care, especially prescription drugs, and to ensure that affordable health insurance is available to all Americans, or whether we should shift to a system where everyone is on their own to buy their own health care. A good example of the shift is the new Medicare drug program, which requires seniors to buy drug insurance from private companies instead of covering drugs under regular Medicare, like doctor visits and hospital stays. President Bush's budget also includes a proposal to expand incentives for employers to offer “health savings accounts,” accounts in which employees can deposit money to pay for their own health care and only get insurance coverage after they have spent a large amount, like $5,000.

Rep. Levin believes the federal government has an important responsibility to ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care, and that by banding together, we can negotiate lower prices and control health care costs.