Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D, 8th-District) announced his support of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. After careful consideration of the bill and having met with and listened to thousands of constituents, doctors, patients, and health care providers, Congressman Murphy decided to vote in favor of the bill in order to improve access to coverage for middle-class families, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and get the United States' spiraling health care spending under control and on a deficit-reducing path. H.R. 3962, which has been endorsed by the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well nearly 300 other organizations, will make critical and long-overdue improvements to the nation's health insurance system.
Congressman Murphy has been guided by 8th District constituents' experiences within the health insurance system- small business owners struggling to do right by their employees in the face of skyrocketing health care costs; Bucks County residents denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy, asthma, high blood pressure, and cancer; seniors failing to make ends meet and lacking access to vital prescription drugs as they fall into the Medicare Part D "donut hole" every year.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act addresses these issues by extending tax credits to middle class families and small businesses to make health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible, ending denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions and ensuring that consumers who already have coverage cannot be kicked off their plan for becoming "too expensive," and closing the "donut hole". Reform would end insurance companies' abusive practices, putting Americans- not insurance company CEOs- back in the driver's seat. As the American Medical Association (AMA) said in their endorsement, reform "empowers patient and physician decision making".
In addition to closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole," H.R. 3962 will strengthen and improve benefits for seniors. Seniors will have access to lower-cost prescription drugs, as the government will now be allowed to negotiate directly with manufacturers to get better deals on medications. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries will have access to free preventive care services to help them stay healthy and active. The AARP cited these provisions as some of the key factors in their endorsement of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, stating "with confidence that [H.R. 3962] meets those goals with improved benefits for people in Medicare and needed health insurance market reforms to help ensure every American can purchase affordable health coverage."
Importantly, the House health insurance reform bill also cracks down on Medicare fraud that drains nearly $60 billion in taxpayer money from the system each year. It includes a bipartisan bill Congressman Murphy introduced with the former head of the RNC, then-Senator Mel Martinez. The IMPROVE Act will close a major loophole that allows for billions of dollars in Medicare fraud each year. This legislation finally gives law enforcement the tools they need to track down scammers and protect taxpayer dollars.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is deficit-reducing, a condition that Congressman Murphy, as a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, stressed was critical to his support for any health insurance reform measures. In fact, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 3962 reduces the deficit by $129 billion. Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other industry groups, who will see millions of new customers under this legislation, are contributing hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for insurance reform.
"The Affordable Health Care for America Act will improve the quality of care for hundreds of thousands of Bucks County residents, and will ensure that families, seniors, and small business owners no longer struggle with skyrocketing health care costs, or live with the fear that a loved one may be kicked of their insurance at any time," said Congressman Murphy. "We know that the status quo is simply unsustainable, and I'm proud to stand for long-overdue, deficit-reducing insurance reform that protects middle-class families, improves access, increases choice and competition, and does right by all Americans."