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Josh Shapiro: Time for Action

Josh Shapiro PortraitBy Rep. Josh Shapiro

The President hit a home run with his health-care speech before a joint session of Congress last month. He forced us to step away from the 24-hour cable chatter and really focus on the issue at hand — fixing our broken health-care system.

We know that we can no longer accept the status quo where costs go up and lives are cut short. In America today, premiums go up, coverage options go down, and all the while family budgets and the American economy face bankruptcy due to soaring health-care costs.  A Harvard study published last month estimated nearly 45,000 deaths annually are associated with the lack of insurance coverage. Physicians can prevent and treat the disease, but only if the patient can see the doctor and afford the treatment.

We must increase access and reduce costs and the President laid out a clear plan on how to do that. The President’s plan will do three things: bring stability and security for those who have health insurance and are happy with it, offer affordable coverage for those who don’t, and limit the soaring economic costs to our country from our current broken system.

Medical decisions will be made between the patient and physician, and the plan will fully cover – with no extra charge – routine checkups and preventative care, like mammograms and colonoscopies. The plan stops insurance companies from denying care because of a pre-existing condition, dropping or watering down coverage when you get sick or setting arbitrary limits on the coverage you can receive annually or in a lifetime.

To repair our health-care system we must bring people together around the notion that we can build on what works and fix what does not. Civility must guide this debate, and the undeniable facts must be the tools of our engagement.

The President set the tone and the vision. Now it is time to bring about the change that will set our nation on a course of great prosperity, renewed purpose and social justice.  It is time for action.

Shapiro represents the 153rd Legislative District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and has been selected as one of 32 state legislators nationwide, named the “White House Team of State Legislators for Health Reform,” to help President Obama reform health care. For more information visit,

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