Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass health care reform with a vote of 219 to 212 and an accompanying reconciliation bill by a vote of 220 to 211. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano voted with honor and pride for the passage of the bill, a victory for millions of Americans who struggle daily with outrageous health insurance costs or lack health insurance coverage all together.
"American families and small businesses have suffered from few choices and little control over their health care for far too long," Napolitano said. "We have seen the efforts of seven presidents, decades of small gains, months of debate and we have finally passed health care reform. This historic bill, while not perfect, will reduce the cost of health care and force health insurance companies to deal fairly with the American people.
"Once law, this reform bill will assist 30 million Americans currently without coverage, lower insurance costs for small businesses struggling with rising rates, allow people access to a health insurance pool of the same kind enjoyed by members of Congress, provide improved prescription drug coverage for seniors by closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole,' allow young people to remain on their parents' insurance plans until age 26, protect children from being denied care for pre-existing conditions, and create fraud and waste cutting provisions to lower future budget deficits. I urge the Senate to immediately pass the final revisions to the bill so the president can sign it into law -- we cannot afford to wait a day longer."
On Thursday, the impartial Congressional Budget Office confirmed the health care reform bill passed by the House would cut the deficit by as much as $138 billion over the next ten years and by as much as $1.2 trillion over the decade after that.
"Our country's health care system has been out of control for decades," Napolitano said. "The problem has always been pushed aside to deal with later -- well, "later' has finally arrived. We must act now, and this bill helps create a more fair and cost-effective health care system that will benefit all Americans for years to come."
Sixteen percent of Americans are without health insurance, and the problem is especially acute in California -- on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that one in four Californians currently lack health insurance. The bill passed today is expected to expand coverage to 95% of Americans.
According to a recent analysis conducted by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the new legislation would have a dramatic impact for people living in California's 38th Congressional District:
* 115,500 people who are currently uninsured would be able to receive care.
* 321,000 residents of the district would see improved health care in the form of lower costs from insurance companies, the elimination of lifetime coverage caps, cheaper preventive care and a ban on removing coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
* 15,100 small businesses in the district would qualify for tax credits to lower the cost of health insurance.
* 7,500 seniors stuck in the Medicare Part D "donut hole" would be able to have their prescription drug costs covered.
* 18,900 people currently denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions would be able to receive care.
* In 2008, 1,100 families in the 38th District were forced into bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs. The health care reform bill caps out-of-pocket expenses to help prevent future bankruptcies caused by catastrophic illness or injury.