U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement today following the introduction of new House health care reform legislation, HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The bill can be found here: http://docs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf
"After an initial review of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, I am pleased to see that many of the principles I support have been included in the bill.
"I have been fighting to make sure the health care reform bill includes a fair deal for Washington state. Specifically, I have been pushing to protect access to health care for Washington state patients by ensuring that Washington state is rewarded, not penalized, for providing high-quality, low-cost patient care.
"This bill includes language to fix the long-standing Medicare reimbursement problems that have hurt access to health care in Washington state.
"I am also pleased that this bill bans discrimination for pre-existing conditions, age and gender. It is just plain unacceptable to deny an individual coverage, or charge them through the roof, because of their age or gender, or because they have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or cancer.
"The bill will protect people's choice of doctors and health plans, and will expand access to quality, affordable health insurance options. And the bill includes a public option that works for Washington state.
"This bill also appears to be a good deal for our seniors. It will improve Medicare benefits, strengthen the solvency of the Medicare program, and close the "doughnut hole" in the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.
"I plan to read and examine every page of this bill over the next week prior to taking this vote. I encourage my constituents to read this bill and contact my office to voice their opinions before the House takes this vote next week.