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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Carpe Diem: NM Senator Dede Feldman to Serve on White House State Legislators for Health Reform Group

DedeFeldmanCRU.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle have announced the establishment of State Legislators for Health Reform. The group includes State Legislators from across the country who will work to advance the need for health reform this year in their communities across the country. Members of the group (see below) met with Sebelius and DeParle at the White House yesterday. New Mexico State Senator Dede Feldman (photo above) was among them.

Senator Feldman had this to say when I asked her about the opportunity to impact national health care policies:

"It was great to join with fellow legislators who have been working on these health issues for years," Senator Feldman told me. "For the past eight years we have not waited for Washington to enact reforms where we could. So now we are thrilled to be asked to partner with Washington and the Obama folks who want to use our expertise on insurance reform, cost control, and reforms in payments for and delivery of basic health care. President Obama gets it and so does Senator Jeff Bingaman, who is right in the middle of the Senate action. It is a historic opportunity to affect peoples lives in the most helpful way possible. Carpe diem."

According to a press release from the White House, State Legislators for Health Reform includes leaders from across the country who will educate their communities on the need for health reform this year. The legislators will host public events, author opinion pieces in local publications, and use their established networks to organize constituents in support of health reform.

“As a former Governor, I know that state legislators can be an incredible asset as we work to make reform a reality,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These leaders see why we need health reform every day because they are living in communities where families and businesses are struggling with skyrocketing health care costs. State Legislators know first-hand how the high cost of care is impacting their state budget and forcing incredibly tough choices. They are hearing from constituents who can’t get the care they need, and they are committed to reform that builds on what works and fixes what doesn’t.”

“Lots of people in Washington are talking about health care, but the most important conversations about health care are happening around kitchen tables in cities and towns across America,” said DeParle. “State Legislators will help ensure Americans across the country know how health reform can help improve health care for all of us.”

For more information on the group and how Senator Feldman's sees her role in it, check out her recent post on her blog. Also click to see a letter sent this week to President Obama by the Progressive States Network in consultation with national health care reform advocates. The letter, which outlines key priorities for health care reform, was signed by legislators from around the nation including Senator Feldman, Sen. Stephen Fischmann, Sen. Eric Griego, Sen. Cisco McSorley, Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Rep. Mimi Stewart. One of the top recommendations of the advocates is the inclusion of a public health insurance option in the reform bill.

Senator Feldman, who has long been a leading advocate in the New Mexico Legislature for comprehensive health care reform and universal coverage, represents Senate District 13 in Albuquerque and is currently the Vice Chair of the Interim Legislative Health and Human Services Committee.

A list of State Legislators who participated in yesterday's meeting at the White House is included below.

State Legislators for Health Reform
  • Sen. Dede Feldman, New Mexico
  • Sen. Jack Hatch, Iowa
  • Sen. Richard Moore, Massachusetts
  • Rep. Jonathan Windyboy, Montana
  • Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, Maryland
  • Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona
  • Rep. Chris Donovan, Connecticut
  • Sen. Nan Orrock, Georgia
  • Rep. Hannah Pingree, Maine
  • Rep. Sharon Treat, Maine
  • Del. Heather Mizeur, Maryland
  • Rep. Tom Huntley, Minnesota
  • Sen. Karen Keiser, Washington
  • Sen. Jon Erpenbach, Wisconsin
  • Rep. Garnet F. Coleman, Texas
  • Rep. Joe Armstrong, Tennessee
  • Asm. Felix Ortiz, New York
  • Rep. Susana A. Mendoza, Illinois
  • Rep. Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania
  • Sen. Joe Bolkcom, Iowa
  • Sen. Kathleen Sgambati, New Hampshire
  • Del. Tom Hucker, Maryland

To see our previous posts on health care issues, visit our archive.

June 18, 2009 at 10:27 AM in Events, Healthcare, NM Legislature 2009, Obama Administration | Permalink

Comments

Tough issue and a tough Senator to fight for us.

Posted by: suz | Jun 18, 2009 1:01:48 PM

dede feldman - healthcare

Posted by: john | Jun 18, 2009 1:12:42 PM

Carpe Diem is right! We know how much work Sen. Feldman has put into this over the years, fighting the tough battles again and again. I'm pleased she's being recognized at the national level for this and I know she will go to bat to keep all the things we need in the bill.

Posted by: Old Dem | Jun 18, 2009 1:22:39 PM