REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.
CHAIRMAN, HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
Date of Birth: June 11, 1930.
Education: B.S., New York University; J.D., St. John’s University School of Law.
Career Path: Rangel grew up in a troubled household and joined the Army after dropping out of high school. He earned a Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War. Rangel served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1966 and the U.S. House in 1970.
Role in Health Care Reform, 1993-1994: Rangel was a member of the Ways and Committee, which never reported a bill to the floor.
Why He's a Player Now: As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, one of three House committees with oversight over health care, he’ll have substantial influence over any legislation. He has already signaled his opposition to taxing health care benefits to help pay for an overhaul.
Quote: "We have to do it for our country, we have to do it for our citizens, we have to do it for our economy, and we have to do it if we're going to remain competitive. Everybody has a story, a horror story of somebody that was underinsured, didn't have insurance, didn't know the cost of the insurance ... And where was America? Behind all industrialized countries, paying twice as much for insurance and not getting access, not getting quality."
"We thought that America should not have to wait, that we want to get this discussion draft out there. We want to get the maximum support for this so that doctors and health providers would know that we're sending all of these resources out there in order to have a healthier and stronger America." (News conference about the House Democratic health reform bill, June 19, 2009)
Read about the other 'Players'.