Today, United States Representative Bennie Thompson released the following statement regarding his vote:
"Today, with the American people in mind, I voted to reform our nation's broken health care system. This historic legislation expands health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans and helps guarantee that 95 percent of Americans will be covered. Essentially, this legislation will put Americans back in control of their health care choices, hold insurance companies accountable, and make coverage more affordable.
"The American people will see immediate benefits as soon as the legislation goes into effect. As a result of this legislation, Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition will be able to buy affordable coverage and insurers will be banned from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping people when they get sick and seniors' costs for prescription drugs will go down. All of this, while reducing the deficit by $128 billion over the next ten years and an additional $1.2 trillion deficit reduction in the following ten years.
"Under this bill's insurance reforms, the 16,500 uninsured individuals in the Second Congressional District who have pre-existing medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes cannot be denied affordable coverage. The legislation improves Medicare for 106,000 beneficiaries in my district by providing free preventive and wellness care, improving primary and coordinated care, and enhancing nursing home care. Under this bill, the 6,800 Medicare beneficiaries in the district each year, who enter the Part D donut hole and are forced to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs will receive a $250 rebate in 2010, 50% discounts on brand name drugs beginning in 2011, and complete closure of the donut hole within a decade.
"In addition to the changes to our nation's health care system, the bill includes increased funding for Pell Grants, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions, and Community Colleges. The bill also saves the taxpayers $61 billion over the next 10 years by switching to the cheaper Direct Loan program. Because Direct Loans can only be serviced by workers in the U.S., this provision will keep thousands of jobs in America.
"Of the thousands of votes that I have cast over the past 17 years, I consider this "yea' vote as one of the most significant during my tenure here in Congress. I hope that the Senate will take swift action to complete our work on this much needed reform.