Press Release
Patient, Consumer Groups Applaud Senator Merkley’s Amendment Creating an Independent Commission on Essential Health Benefits

Seventy-one organizations, representing millions of patients and consumers nationwide, issued a letter to Congress today applauding Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for his forthcoming amendment to health care reform legislation.  The Merkley amendment would create an independent commission to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on setting a federal standard for what health benefits must be offered to families nationwide. 

The nation needs health care reform to deliver the quality, comprehensive coverage that families can afford.  If passed, Senator Merkley’s amendment would help give consumers and patients a voice on the new commission of non-partisan health experts and stakeholders that will shape a benefit package that is grounded in science and is in patients’ best interests.  The creation of such a commission would establish a transparent and inclusive process that fully engages consumers, patients, providers and workers as decisions are made about a baseline of essential health coverage for individuals and families nationwide.  

Senator Merkley’s amendment honors the expectations of patients and consumers across the country who are counting on lawmakers to fix our broken health care system.  The 71 organizations that signed the letter, including the AFL-CIO, American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, Child Welfare League of America, National Partnership for Women & Families and SEIU, represent millions of consumers, patients, providers and workers, many of whom are struggling to afford the care they need to maintain their health and safety as well as their jobs and quality of life.

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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