WISCONSINREPORT.COM (07/17/2009) - The United States House Energy and Commerce Committee began the work of marking up America's Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200). The plan for health care reform promises to lower costs, provide better care, and keep the insurance industry competitive and fair for all consumers. House members have began offering ammendments to the original bill. The ammendment process started Friday and will continue next week. Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammi Baldwin offered two ammendments that were accepted by the committee.
"For the first time in more than six decades, as we begin to transform our economy and reclaim our stake in the American Dream, health care for all is within our grasp, said Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and its Health Subcommittee.
"I am proud to bring Wisconsin's common sense and good ideas to this effort," Baldwin added.
In the first day of the mark-up, two amendments offered by Congresswoman Baldwin were accepted.
The first, offered with Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX), will create a new educational campaign to raise awareness of the need for advanced care planning. This ammendment establishes a toll-free hotline and clearinghouse through the Department of Health and Human Services to provide public information about advanced care planning issues.
"Families and their loved ones deserve access to information about all of the options for end-of-life care. They need to know what is necessary to ensure that their wishes are honored," said Baldwin.
The second provision was offered with a small bipartisan group of Members. It
creates a new grant program for educational institutions to develop mental and behavioral health training programs. Mental health and substance abuse problems underlie many health problems, yet Congressional Representative Baldwin says there is a lack of a sufficient workforce to respond to the significant patient needs.
"Experts estimate that, over the next ten years, we will have a nearly 90% shortfall in the necessary professionals in addiction medicine," Baldwin said.
"This is the result of schools not producing a sufficient number of trained professionals," she continued.
"This funding stream will save lives and keep families together by helping support pioneering mental and behavioral health training programs," Baldwin said.
The mark-up will continue next week and Baldwin expects to offer more amendments.