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Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, today is a historic day for all of us.
As Members of Congress, it is our duty to pass real healthcare reform this year.
The American people are suffering.
47 million people lack even the most basic care, and for those lucky to have insurance--their premiums have more than doubled over the last 10 years.
Perhaps no state is in greater need of this reform than my home state of California.
217 thousand people in my Congressional District go everyday without insurance.
And for California as a whole--we have 13 million uninsured residents.
The people of California, and people across the United States need health care reform that: ends discrimination based on pre-existing conditions; ends dropped healthcare coverage because you get sick; ends co-pays for preventative care; and ends skyrocketing costs for individuals and families.
The Republican alternative does none of these things.
It simply keeps the status quo! It does nothing to provide quality, affordable health care to the American people.
The 217,000 people living in my District without insurance cannot afford inaction any longer.
The 13 million people in California without insurance cannot live with the status quo.
The 15 hundred families in my District who went bankrupt because of health costs cannot afford the status quo.
Now is our opportunity to make history--and to move America forward.
We must not be short-sighted and focus only on politics and polls.
As a Christian--my faith teaches me we must love and care for our fellow man, as if they were our brother or sister.
I know that fixing our broken health care system is not just an economic issue--it is also a humanitarian and a moral issue.
I am especially pleased that today's bill includes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
As a Member of the House Native American Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee--I have been a strong supporter of ending the health disparities that exist on our reservations.
I will close my statement by again stressing the importance of this historic moment.
We passed Social Security in 1935. We passed Medicare in 1965.
I urge my colleagues to stand with the American people and pass legislation in 2009 that will make quality, affordable health care a right for all Americans.
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