A mother recently shared with me her frustration that upon switching jobs to afford rising health care costs, she was unable to obtain health care coverage for daughter because she had a pre-existing condition -- cancer. In a country as fruitful as ours, this is wrong. We must do better.
And this past weekend, we took an important step to do just that, we put Americans back in charge of their health care. Passage of health care reform means stability and security for families who are satisfied with their health insurance, choices for those who aren't, and a host of new consumer protections -- including the prevention of denials for pre-existing conditions. It provides increased access to high quality care that is affordable for individuals, families, and businesses all while responsibly reducing the federal deficit over the next 10 years and beyond.
Passage of health care reform means coverage will be made more affordable. Health insurance pools will help 182,000 households and 15,700 small businesses and family farmers in western Wisconsin come together to purchase the health care plan of their choice with tax credits to make it affordable. The bill caps out of pocket costs, eliminates lifetime limits on insurance coverage, and gets rid of co-pays and deductibles for preventative care.
Health insurance will also be more accessible. Reform provides access to coverage for 29,500 individuals in western Wisconsin who are currently uninsured and allows 9,000 individuals with pre-existing conditions to get the coverage they are currently denied.
Reform strengthens Medicare for 111,000 beneficiaries in western Wisconsin. It immediately lowers prescription drug costs for those in the "donut hole' and ultimately closes it altogether. It provides improved chronic care, waives co-pays for preventive care services and secures the financial future of Medicare.
Based on negotiations I led, reform changes the way we pay for health care by rewarding value-based, quality medicine over the volume-based medicine currently practiced. This will lower costs and provide Americans higher quality care. Our health care providers in Wisconsin have shown us that this works and will now get reimbursed at rates that reflect the quality of care they deliver.
The bill does all of this and is fiscally responsible, reducing the deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the second 10 years.
Reform ensures the sustainability of our health care system by reducing rising health care costs helping families, businesses and individuals alike afford the health care they need and deserve.
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