Today, after evaluating the final text of the legislation, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-14) announced that he will vote in favor of the Health Insurance Reform bill, and released the following statement.
"After thorough consideration, I have decided to support the health insurance reform legislation because it eliminates pre-existing conditions, protects and strengthens Medicare and will significantly reduce the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years. While the Senate bill itself is not perfect, many important improvements have been made so that the overall package is one that I can support.
This bill will give my constituents freedom from the fear of becoming uninsurable, and freedom to pursue better job opportunities or start a small business without the fear of losing their insurance. As a former small business owner, I was pleased to see that this bill will allow small businesses to thrive and expand without facing crippling health care costs.
In the past year I've heard from thousands of constituents who have passionately argued in favor of or against the legislation. Though there have been spirited disagreements about the details, almost everyone agrees that our health insurance system is broken. I've listened to small business owners who tell me they won't be able to continue to offer health insurance to their employees if costs continue to rise, and I've listened to individuals who have become uninsurable through no fault of their own -- like one woman who was denied insurance because her health insurance company cited menopause as her pre-existing condition. I have also made it a priority to carefully read and analyze major pieces of legislation before casting my vote -- and to think ahead about what will be best for our country 10, 20 and 50 years from now.
I want to make sure my constituents understand that I have heard their calls, read their emails and letters, seen their faxes, and I have weighed the concerns of those opposed and those in favor. In the last 72 hours, I also consulted with experts like Illinois Insurance Commissioner Michael McRaith, who confirmed the positive impact that this legislation will have on Illinois businesses and consumers. I ran for Congress to find workable solutions to the problems facing the families of the 14th District, and by controlling costs and eliminating pre-existing conditions as a barrier to health care, I have kept that promise.
I am pleased that this bill is endorsed by the AARP, the American Medical Association, the Mayo Clinic and dozens of other organizations. It was also important to my decision that the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined that the legislation will cut the federal deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years, and will increase the solvency of Medicare by nine years.
While I realize this has been a stressful exercise for our country's democracy, I believe that voices on both sides are to be thanked for actively participating in that democracy. Whether my vote today was one you support or oppose, I have listened to and balanced your concerns and believe that now, we must go forward together, Republicans and Democrats alike, and do everything possible to continue restoring our nation's economy so that everyone needing work can find it."