U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today released the following statement after the historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass health insurance reform legislation.
"Tonight, the United States of America reconnected with the very principle it was founded upon. The will of the American people was carried out through the passage of the historic law in the United States Congress," said Pascrell, a member of the Ways and Means Committee who authored key provisions of the legislation.
"I am so proud to have voted in support of this health insurance reform legislation. Patients who have been denied health care coverage due to a pre-existing condition, seniors left stranded by the gap in their prescription drug coverage, and future generations inheriting the nation's fiscal legacy are among the many people who will benefit from this legislation. I can't help but think of all of the conversations I've had over the years with people who urged me and my colleagues I've had over the years with people who urged me and my colleagues to bring about a more sane system of delivering the health care they need. We're finally on the road to making that happen. This is a new day in America."
The historic legislation, H.R.3590, makes the necessary changes to infuse more competition and accountability in the health insurance marketplace.
Under the legislation, those who are satisfied with their health care coverage will be able to keep it. For others, the bill provides reforms that will allow greater choice, access and affordability. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the legislation will expand health coverage to 95 percent of all Americans--including 32 million uninsured--and will reduce the federal deficit by over $140 billion over the next decade and $1.2 trillion in the second decade after the legislation's enactment.
The legislation is estimated to provide the following benefits to New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District:
* 116,000 families and 15,200 small businesses will receive tax credits and subsidies to purchase health insurance coverage.
* 91,000 seniors will see improvements in their Medicare--including more affordable prescription drugs and free preventive care.
* 71,000 currently uninsured will get coverage.
* Nearly 1,000 families will escape bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
* Three community health centers in Paterson and Passaic will see millions of dollars in new funding.
* Local hospitals will see their uncompensated care fall by $55 million each year.
Among those reforms included in the bill is Pascrell's proposal for the Health Workforce Investment Act, which would create a new federal infrastructure to centralize the nation's health workforce policy to help make certain there are enough professionals to improve the administration and delivery of services.
The legislation also includes Pascrell's proposal to simplify post-hospitalization care. The legislation directs the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to test the Continuing Care Hospital model to improve how seriously injured or ill patients receive and pay for post-acute care under Medicare.
The bill also includes Pascrell's proposed provision to repeal a recent Medicare reimbursement change that jeopardized millions of dollars in funding for New Jersey hospitals. Since the policy was first proposed by Medicare in 2008, Pascrell has fought for a legislative remedy to ensure that New Jersey's hospitals get the money they deserve. The repeal included in this legislation preserves $70 million a year in Medicare funding to New Jersey hospitals.
In his statement on the House floor, Pascrell chastised the legislation's Republican opponents for characterizing the bill as a Democratic attempt to reduce health insurance benefits for veterans.
"It is utterly dishonest that we are seeking to deny any soldier the health care they deserve and the benefits that nearly all Republicans and Democrats have spent their careers in Congress working to protect," said Pascrell.