Health care reform is dominating much of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s political life lately. He says bringing change to the nation’s medical industry is a massive undertaking and the going is slow — and methodical. The congressional plan is expected to be unveiled later this week.
"My goal is to make coverage for health care more affordable and accessible and to slow down the cost of health care which we all know is growing at a rate that’s unsustainable,’ Grassley says. "When it’s grows two or three times what the rate of inflation is, it’s just unacceptably high."
He says he consulted his calendar to come up with just how much of his days have been consumed by health care in recent months. "Since the beginning of the year, I’ve led or participated in 59 meetings with senators about health care reform, nine Finance Committee hearings and day-long discussions about health care," Grassley says. "I’ve held 87 meetings with constituents about health care this year and I’ve given ten speeches on the subject."
Speaking before the American Medical Association on Monday, President Obama said he wants to extend health care coverage to millions of Americans who don’t now have it. Grassley says he hopes Obama will help congress to find middle ground on several key issues in the health care reform agenda.
Grassley says, "Legislation this big, because the health care system makes up about 17% of the entire nation’s economy and touches the quality of life of every household, it ought to be done in a broad consensus basis." Grassley, a Republican, says he wants to see the health care reform proposal, when it’s complete, pass the Senate with at least 80 votes, an indicator of wide bipartisan support.