Congressman Jim Langevin this evening voted for H.R. 4872 -- the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 - and H.R. 3590 -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Earlier in the week, he began the final push for health insurance reform as a member of the House Committee on the Budget.
"Tonight, I cast a vote to address one of our greatest unsolved challenges. This Congress is being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix a broken health care system that has left millions of families without the coverage and care they deserve.
"Seizing this opportunity means we can ensure that tomorrow, a working mom in West Warwick will wake up knowing she can afford her family's health coverage; a dad in Providence will wake up knowing he can take his daughter to the doctor when she is sick; a small business owner in Westerly will wake up knowing he can finally give his employees the coverage he always intended; and a cancer survivor in Narragansett will wake up knowing she won't lose her insurance because of a pre-existing condition or a lifetime cap.
"After an injury left me paralyzed, the members of my community supported me in a way that changed my life forever. I made myself a promise that I would devote my life to public service so I could give back to them all that they gave to me. Tonight, I am fulfilling that promise."
Among key elements in H.R. 4872 and the corresponding Senate health reform bill (H.R. 3590) are:
- A $138 billion deficit reduction over the first 10 years
- A $1.2 trillion savings over the following decade -- the largest deficit reduction in 17 years
- Additional nine years of solvency in the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund
- Closure of the Medicare Part D "donut hole"
- Prohibition of abusive insurance practices like pre-existing condition exclusions and policy rescissions
- A ban on annual and lifetime coverage limits, which are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
- Premium tax credits and cost-sharing assistance to low- and middle-income Americans, providing families and small businesses with the largest tax cut for health care in history
- A health insurance exchange that ensures competition and transparency and provides choice
- An extension of coverage for young people up to age 27 under their parents' plans
- The creation of a new, voluntary, public long-term care insurance program
- Critical investments in strengthening the health care workforce
- A medical loss ratio requiring that a minimum of 85 percent of premiums go to health care and only 15 percent to administration and profits
- Prohibition on the use of federal funds to pay for abortion services except those allowed under the Hyde amendment.
- Conscience protections to guard against discrimination of any health care provider that has a moral opposition to abortion.
- Numerous provisions of the Pregnant Women Support Act aimed at decreasing abortions and providing supports for women
- $250 million for programs to support vulnerable pregnant women
This legislation will also put an end to the worst practices of health insurance companies, like dropping your coverage when you get sick, or arbitrarily hiking up your premiums. Finally, it will begin to put our country on a fiscally sustainable path.