Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo says he expects the U.S. House will pass a "transformational" health care reform bill this fall.
"We wouldn’t have the 47 million Americans in this country without health insurance if our existing system was addressing the needs of those individuals and it’s clearly not," Braley says.
Braley is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which produced its own version of health care reform in late July. A so-called "public option" was included in that bill.
"I think a robust public health insurance option is a critical part to increase competition in many areas of the country," Braley said during an appearance on Iowa Public Radio’s "Talk at 12" program. According to Braley, just two companies issue about 80 percent of the private insurance policies in Iowa.
Over the past two weeks Braley has strongly defended the bill developed by his committee in the House after accusations that it contained "death panels" and Senator Chuck Grassley suggested the public had "every right to fear" it would lead to "pulling the plug on grandma." During town hall meetings in his northeast Iowa district this past week, Braley has said there’s nothing further from the truth" and the bill, he says, will make it easier for elderly Americans to draft "living wills" when they’re healthy, before they get too sick to make their wishes known.
Braley’s next "town hall" meetings on health care are scheduled for today in Parkersburg at 1 p.m. and in Waverly at 3 p.m..