I intend to vote yes on the Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962, when it comes to the House floor for consideration.
Millions of Americans live without the security of health care that they can rely on and that can never be taken away. Families shouldn't have to make a choice between putting food on the table or having health care when they are sick. Insurance companies continue to raise premiums while cutting benefits, cancel policies for those who get sick and need care the most and deny coverage for anything they want to call a pre-existing condition.
The bill will put a stop to some of those practices. It will establish a health insurance exchange so that the uninsured and small businesses can purchase coverage at affordable group rates - offering both a public and a private option. It will not change our current system of employer-based coverage, but the loss of a job will no longer mean the loss of health care coverage.
For the past few months, I have received and read thousands of letters and emails and I have traveled throughout the 13th Congressional District to talk and listen to people with different views on how to improve our health care system. One thing is clear, our health care system is broken and must be fixed.
Devising a health reform package that will truly solve the problems in health care and gain enough votes for passage is no small feat. President Truman urged Congress to provide healthcare coverage to all Americans more than sixty years ago, only to see special interests defeat his effort. History has repeated itself periodically since then, most recently in 1994. Health insurance premiums have more than doubled since 2000, straining family budgets, and the increasing cost of health insurance is putting coverage out of reach for many small to midsize companies and their workers. We spend far, far more than other countries and Americans are less healthy and don't live as long.
The health care system is too badly broken to fix in one fell swoop, but this bill is a solid start. That's why I plan to support HR 3962 when it comes before the House.