Senator Kennedy establishes three HELP Committee Working Groups to help craft health care bill

Washington, DC— Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) was pleased to accept an invitation today from Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), to lead a working group tasked with crafting the prevention and public health components of the health care reform bill.

“I am very grateful to my dear friend, Senator Kennedy for this opportunity to contribute to real health care reform for our country,” said Harkin. “I have long believed that prevention and wellness are the keys to solving our health care crisis. We must recreate America as a “wellness society” focused on fitness, good nutrition, and disease prevention-–ultimately keeping people out of the hospital in the first place. I look forward to tackling this problem with my colleagues on the HELP Committee and our Chairman Senator Kennedy.”

Under Senator Kennedy’s direction, the working groups will concentrate on three areas essential to comprehensive reform: (1) prevention and public health, (2) improvements in the quality of care, and (3) insurance coverage.  Harkin will lead the working group on prevention and public health, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) will lead the working group on improvements in quality, and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will lead the working group on insurance coverage. 

“Our committee is fortunate to have the services of major leaders who are committed to improving health care for the American people. Senator Harkin, Senator Mikulski, and Senator Clinton have generously offered to step forward and assume an expanded role on critical aspects of health reform. I commend them for their leadership, and I look forward very much to working with them, with all our colleagues on the committee and throughout Congress, and with the Obama Administration to achieve the goal at long last of quality, affordable health care for all Americans,” said Kennedy.