Health Reform Agenda continued...
Rising costs are at the heart of the problem, along with an estimated 46 million Americans who have no health coverage. Businesses are also cutting back on workers' medical benefits in an effort to save money, and that can leave workers exposed to out-of-pocket health costs if they get sick.
"We simply cannot afford as a nation, and we cannot afford as businesses, to maintain the status quo, because it is unsustainable," John J. Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, an employer group, said at the White House conference Monday.
Bipartisan cooperation on health care and other issues was a theme of the conference. Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill said they were worried that Democrats may not follow through on calls for inclusiveness when a contentious health care debate ramps up.
"I know that most Americans would be disappointed if the president took the one-size-fits-all government-only approach to health care reform, so we're hoping he invites Republican ideas into the room," says Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., chairman of the House Republican Conference.
"There are a lot of good ideas out there. The time is now to put those good ideas down on a piece of legislation and move forward so we have something that delivers quality health care to everybody in this country in a way that everybody can afford," Castellani says.