May 23,2008

Baucus, Grassley Announce Health Reform Summit

“Prepare for Launch: Health Reform Summit 2008” offers leaders the chance to engage with experts, learn and discuss options for comprehensive reform in 2009

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley today unveiled plans for a bipartisan summit for Senators and Representatives to discuss options for health care reform in 2009. “Prepare for Launch: Health Reform Summit 2008” will be held at the Library of Congress on June 16, 2008, as part of the Finance Committee’s year-long series of hearings, roundtables, and events to prepare for congressional action on health reform.

“Our broken health care system is endangering families and sapping this country’s ability to compete economically, and Americans want something done about it. But comprehensive health reform won’t drop out of the clear blue sky – we have to do some legwork first,” Baucus said. “All of us in Congress have a responsibility to learn all we can now, start talking through the sticky issues, and be ready to move when the time comes for real reform. ‘Prepare for Launch’ will bring leaders together now to tackle America’s health care crisis.”

“Policy discussions and debates are fundamental to policy initiatives that achieve broad-based support. I’m glad to support an event that encourages a productive dialogue and gets people focused on ideas and possibilities. Without a doubt, health care matters to every American. This summit is a chance to study the opportunities that exist to improve access and quality in America’s health care system, and to consider what’s involved in making possible reforms,” U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said.

Highlights of the summit will include:

  • Keynote remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on health care and American economic competitiveness
  • Keynote remarks by Dr. J. Craig Venter, genomic research pioneer, on research advances and signposts for reform
  • Open, bipartisan discussions with major experts to learn about issues including:
--state-based reform efforts
--employer-sponsored coverage trends
--rising health care costs and demographic shifts
--insurance market reform
--the role of public programs
--delivery system reform

An additional session on lessons that can be learned from international health systems will feature FRONTLINE correspondent T.R. Reid on his recent documentary, “Sick Around the World.”

*** Due to limited space, the Summit is currently open only to Senators and Members of the House of Representatives and to press with credentials for the event (visit for credentialing requirements). Others are invited to visit in the coming weeks for updates on opportunities to participate and to view the Summit on television and on the web.