Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today issued the following statement announcing her intention to vote in favor of healthcare reform legislation:
"We are in a healthcare crisis, and the burden it is placing on families and businesses in Nevada must be lifted. That is why I will vote for health reform legislation this weekend.
"While not perfect, this bill addresses key obstacles that continue to plague the system. The cost of healthcare premiums is skyrocketing out of control, creating an atmosphere where only insurance companies can and will prosper and prevail. Without this reform, our individual citizens and businesses will continue to be devastated by unsustainable costs or barriers to coverage.
"Reforming the broken healthcare system is a critical element in our nation's economic recovery. Healthcare costs must be controlled, access to coverage must be expanded and the quality of coverage for those who are currently covered must be improved. No one with or without health insurance should be forced into bankruptcy because of medical bills, or worry they will not be covered if they lose or change their jobs.
"This bill increases access for those who have been denied insurance in the past, either because they can't afford it, have a pre-existing condition, or have been dropped from coverage after getting sick. It provides financial assistance to working families to make their healthcare costs affordable and it provides businesses with tax credits for providing healthcare for their employees.
"This bill will allow 63,000 young adults in Southern Nevada to remain on their parents' insurance plans longer, thereby preventing them from falling into the ranks of the uninsured.
"The bill improves Medicare coverage for 90,000 beneficiaries in my Congressional district and closes the donut hole, eliminating huge out-of-pocket costs for their prescription medicines.
"This has been a very long and difficult process. Over the past year, through town hall meetings, letters, emails and individual conversations, I have heard from thousands of Nevadans on both sides of the issue. I deeply appreciate the views expressed by all who reached out to me to voice their opinions and I thank them for being a part of this process.
"I believe it is my duty to fight for the health, well-being and protection of the citizens I represent. While this package does not contain all the reforms needed, it provides a framework of very positive first steps that will achieve a great deal for Nevada families. There is no doubt that more must be done, but I believe this is a step in the right direction."
Key healthcare reform benefits for Nevada's First Congressional District:
Extend coverage to 155,500 uninsured residents.
Protect 3,800 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable healthcare costs.
Improve Medicare for 90,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
Guarantee that 26,200 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other healthcare providers by $74 million annually.
Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 201,000 families and 16,700 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
Allow 63,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans.