Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) released the following statement today after the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act:
"Today's historic vote is one step forward in our quest to provide health care to all Americans.
"While there is still much work to do, I applaud President Obama, Democratic Leadership and the Chairmen of the Tri-Committees for their efforts to bring us to this point.
"I also want to thank in the Tri-Caucus, Progressives Caucus and particularly the 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Together we have led the fight for a strong public option, which is included in the health care bill that the House approved today.
"When others were pronouncing health reform dying--and the public option dead and buried--we kept on fighting! And we will keep fighting until a final health care bill is on the president's desk that includes not only a strong public option, but provisions to achieve health equity, eliminate health disparities and to limit the rate of increase for those with private plans.
"We have and will continue to champion issues such as the need for support for patients with end stage renal disease, for children's mental health, and dental care, workforce pipeline issues, and expansion of community health centers.
"These provisions and others attack the many causes of health disparities, and we fought to get them in. Under the leadership of Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen, we have also championed expansion of the Office of Minority Health because we need a comprehensive way to address minority health across agencies.
"Finally, because we know that 85 percent of Americans are in private insurance, under the leadership of Rep. Donna Edwards, we fought to have included cost containment provisions to keep premiums reasonable. We know that the American people want and deserve affordable health care. We also know that this bill is cost effective for our country, and for American families watching their budgets.
"This was a historic vote, but we must keep up the fight until we have a final bill on the president's desk. Health care should not just be a privilege for a few; it should and must be a basic human right in the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world."