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Statement by Bruce Bodaken, Chairman & CEO, Blue Shield of California, Regarding President Obama's Healthcare Summit

SAN FRANCISCO, March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Obama has jumpstarted a conversation this country desperately needs about how to reduce healthcare costs, improve quality and cover every American. By setting a goal of universal coverage and initiating a public dialog informed by hard truths, the president has taken the right approach. His inclusive brand of leadership makes the prospect for success more likely. It's up to all of us to heed the call and to pursue comprehensive reform in good faith.

We are facing a moment of truth: health care ought to be a right in the United States. Though we are spending far more than other countries where health care is universal, nearly 50 million Americans are without coverage. To insure everyone, we need to greatly increase the value of the care we receive for the dollars we spend. That will require every player in the healthcare market -- insurers, doctors, hospitals, employers, drug and device companies, legislators and consumers -- to compromise and be willing to change.

Having advocated for universal coverage since 2002 and participated extensively in California's recent health reform effort, Blue Shield of California is eager to bring the lessons learned from that experience to the policy discussion in Washington. We stand ready to change our business model if coverage is made universal. We hope the process the president has kicked off today inspires others to make similar commitments to achieve the goal of affordable health care for everyone.

    CONTACT:  Erica Perng
              Media Relations Consultant
              (415) 229-6171

SOURCE Blue Shield of California
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