Monday, May 27, 2024

Former Secretary of HUD, Henry Cisneros, Discusses the Importance of Health Care Reform

In a recent article published in the San Antonio Express-News, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros, argues that if 2009 was the year in which Americans developed a grasp of the importance of health care reform, 2010 must be the year in which it is implemented.

Last year was marked by a large-scale effort to educate the American people about the debate surrounding health care reform.  This campaign was certainly not controlled by any one side of the argument, but rather featured an intense wrangling between conflicting opinions and variously interested groups.  The Senate held over 100 committee meetings to discuss the subject, and the entire Senate dedicated 25 full days to the health care issue.  The House of Representatives and its committees held nearly as many hearings as the Senate, and representatives participated in more than 3000 town halls.

Early in 2010, both houses of Congress have presented bills that contain essential components with which to finalize one of the most longstanding and pressing legislative endeavors of the last several decades.

The House and Senate bills contain many of the same provisions.  Among these are the prohibition to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions; the creation of a national health care exchange; the expansion of medical benefits to include annual check-ups; tax credits for small businesses to help them pay for their employees’ health insurance; and the goal of covering the 31 million Americans who are currently uninsured.

These measures would improve access to health care in the United States and they would also offset the expenses associated with caring for untreated, uninsured Americans.  Concretely, the bills aim to keep costs under $900 billion over 10 years while reducing the deficit by $132 billion.

The final bill ultimately produced by Congress will not contain all the provisions advocated by all parties, but it will nonetheless represent an accomplishment of public debate and a step toward universal access to health care in the United States.

Henry Cisneros is a former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

In 1981 Mr. Cisneros became the first Hispanic mayor of a major U.S. city when he was elected Mayor of San Antonio, the Nation’s 10th largest city. In 1985 Mr. Cisneros was elected president of the National League of Cities. He also has served as chair of the National Civic League, deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and board member of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Mr. Cisneros received a B.A. and an M.A. in Urban Planning from Texas A&M, an M.A. in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Public Administration from George Washington University.

Link to Article