Warner chimes in on health reform
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) led a group of 11 freshmen Democratic senators today in unveiling a bundle of amendments to the Senate health reform bill dubbed the "Value and Innovation Package."
The amendments are intended to control costs, reduce fraud, improve transparency and encourage innovation. They include such ideas as a pay-for-performance program for Medicare providers. And in the classic pro-business Warner tradition, they've gotten the support of a host of business leaders and organizations including the Business Leadership Council, the AARP and executives from Safeway, Intel, Carilion Clinic, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, Wal-Mart and many others.
So does this mean Warner supports the health bill in its current form? Nope, spokesman Kevin Hall said. But the effort did showcase Warner's talents in bringing business to the political negotiating table and made clear that he is working hard to support health reform while sticking to his record of fiscal conservatism.
"This doesn't solve all the problems in the bill," Warner told a crowded conference room at the Capitol today. "There are still issues to be resolved that we're going to have to work through, but this broad base of support shows that we're taking what's in the bill and moving it in the right direction."
The 10 other Democrats from the Senate Class of 2008 joining Warner today were Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Roland Burris (Ill.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Ted Kaufman (Del.), Paul Kirk (Mass.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mark Udall (N.M.) and Tom Udall (Colo.)
For those interested in the fine print, read a summary of the amendments here.
December 8, 2009; 6:25 PM ET
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