Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Applauds State of the Union Recommendations for Health Care, Immigration Reform

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

NLC Applauds State of the Union Recommendations for Health Care, Immigration Reform

Article excerpt

The National League of Cities applauds President George W. Bush's recommendations in last week's State of the Union address to reduce health care costs and to develop a comprehensive approach to immigration reform.

"The President's proposals to provide additional tax breaks to help people without employer-provided insurance and to support wider use of electronic records mirror NLC policy, and we support him in this effort," said NLC President James Hunt, councilmember from Clarksburg, W.Va. "We are also heartened by his determination to tackle comprehensive immigration reform, which is of great importance to us."

Like other employers, local governments are seeing huge annual increases in health insurance costs for their employees--in the range of 11 percent a year. In a NLC survey released last week, 89 percent of city officials cited the cost of city workers' health benefits as having a negative impact on their ability to meet their city's fiscal needs. An estimated $68 billion a year is spent by local government for health insurance benefits for employees and their dependents.

NLC Executive Director Donald J. Borut noted that the Administration should build on the President's proposals to include a health care reform plan that would address the needs of all.

"As leaders, we realize the critical need for high-level discussion of health care reform and applaud the President for taking action," Borut said. "But in order to be effective, reform must impact all areas of the health care system--consumers, medical providers and hospitals, drug manufacturers and insurers. …

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