Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D, 8th-District) announced that he will support comprehensive health insurance reform to provide the largest middle class health care tax cut in history- $500 billion dollars for families and small businesses- and to end, once and for all, the abusive insurance practices that the industry has gotten away with for decades.
Murphy was joined on a reporter conference call by Barbara Stakes, a Bucks County resident who lost her insurance- along with her job of 40 years- at the age of 60, and overnight faced premium costs of $1250 a month. Unable to afford coverage, Barbara hopes that her seizures stay in remission and that she does not get seriously ill before she is old enough to qualify for Medicare. Murphy was also joined by Patrick Kenny, President of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, and by Dick Woodruff of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, to discuss why health insurance reform will curb skyrocketing premiums, expand access to care, and save lives.
After careful consideration and having met with and listened to thousands of constituents, doctors, patients, and health care providers, Murphy will vote 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. Health insurance reform is supported by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American Nurses Association, and the American Cancer Society, as well nearly 300 other organizations, and will make critical and long-overdue improvements to the nation's health insurance system.
"I'm proud to support the largest middle-class health care tax cut in history for 8th District families and small businesses, and to fight against special interests to end the abusive practices insurance companies have gotten away with for decades, like denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions or kicking people off their plans when they get sick," said Rep. Patrick Murphy. "The need for these protections hits home when a parent is laid off and the family loses their insurance, a child graduates from college but is unable to find a job that offers benefits, or a loved one can't get coverage because of a pre-existing condition like asthma, diabetes, or cancer."
"I worked hard my entire life, but lost my health insurance when I lost my job. Overnight, I was facing huge out-of-pocket costs for treatment and medications for my seizures, a pre-existing condition," said Barbara Stakes of Feasterville. "I want to thank Patrick Murphy for courageously stepping forward to support meaningful reform that will prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of other hardworking Americans who have played by the rules."
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.
Health care reform will address 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. Reform will empower patient and physician decision making. In addition to closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole," health insurance reform will strengthen and improve benefits for seniors. Seniors will have access to lower-cost prescription drugs. Medicare beneficiaries will also have access to free preventive care services to help them stay healthy and active.
Importantly, health care reform 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.
Health insurance reform 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, all of the current legislative proposals reduce the deficit. 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.