Rep Pete Stark (D, Calif), chairman of the House Ways and Means' Subcommittee on Health, has begun a series of hearings intended to prompt legislators to again consider ways to reform health care coverage and delivery.
A subcommittee spokesman said such hearings have not been held since the early 1990s.
An April 15 hearing exploring the instability of US health care coverage featured testimony about health and economic problems caused by being uninsured or underinsured. Diane Rowland, ScD, executive vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, testified that of the nearly 47 million uninsured in 2006, an estimated 22 000 died prematurely due to a lack of coverage. “For the 1 in 6 Americans under age 65 who are uninsured, lack of affordable coverage can both compromise health and leave families with substantial medical debt,” Rowland said.