Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement following her vote in support of the health care reform legislation. The legislation passed the House with a vote of
"Tonight, my colleagues and I cast an historic vote to improve the health and wellness of millions of Americans who suffer because they are uninsured and under-insured and because of massive gaps in our nation's health care system.
"Tonight, I cast my vote for all those people who deserve health care but simply can't afford it. I cast my vote for our senior citizens who will see their prescription drug costs go down. I cast my vote for our children and grandchildren, so that they can live longer, fuller and healthier lives. I cast my vote in memory of those people who didn't have preventive care and died prematurely.
"There is no doubt this bill has flaws. Many of us would have preferred a single-payer system or at least a public option. However, this bill offers vitally important advances for health care - making coverage more affordable and expanding access to much needed services.
"I worked tirelessly with my colleagues to ensure that this bill holds insurance companies accountable and included a number of cost-saving provisions. We were vocal advocates for provisions in the bill to combat health disparities, illnesses and diseases that disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities.
"To those who suffer from those health disparities, our vote tonight carries significance similar to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in that it fulfills a dream that has been elusive for far too long and for far too many Americans.
"This bill is a victory not only for our constituents, but for all Americans because it will make us a stronger and healthier nation. In my district alone this bill will extend coverage to 52,000 people immediately including young adults who have been kicked off their parents insurance. It will also improve coverage for 367,000 residents in my district.
"By passing this ground breaking legislation, we have finally given the power back to the people. No longer will the insurance companies have a strangle hold on the American people and their health care.
"I urge my Senate colleagues to move swiftly and pass the reconciliation package and enact the changes that the President has asked for and Congress has agreed to."