Congressman Joe Courtney released the following statement in advance of the approaching vote on the final health care reform package (watch my announcement on CNN below):
"After more than a year of town hall meetings, visits to the homes of constituents, and conversations with medical professionals and residents of eastern Connecticut, I believe that it is time to move forward and pass this comprehensive health care reform."
"I have listened to thousands of constituents throughout this great debate, but as I have had the time to thoroughly read and review this proposal, I believe it will ultimately serve the best interest of my constituents and all Americans."
"Through this devastating recession, we learned that Americans should not be forced to choose between food and health care coverage, which is what I have heard from my constituents. This bill will make sure that working families who fall upon hard times will be reassured that they will continue to have access to affordable and quality coverage."
"Senior citizens will have the comfort of knowing that their medications will continue to be paid for, instead of falling into the devastating Medicare Part D "donut hole.' This proposal will eventually close that gap in coverage and provide significant savings for seniors without jeopardizing their current benefits at all."
"For far too long, many of our neighbors, including a great number of our mothers and sisters who have battled breast cancer, have been tragically refused coverage because of pre-existing condition exclusions. This legislation will end pre-existing condition exclusions and make sure that our loved ones have the coverage and care they need in the future without the fear of denial."
"I led a national campaign against the excise tax that was passed by the Senate. I am proud of that effort and the final proposal will protect working and middle-class families by reducing the impact of the ill-advised tax and will only be implemented after the health exchange is opened to the public. That way, any one who fears that they may be subjected to the excise tax will have a place to go for quality, affordable coverage without the burdensome tax. Most of my constituents don't have Goldman Sachs Gold-Plated coverage plans, so they shouldn't be burdened by this new tax."
"Connecticut's medical providers will receive better reimbursement rates and the State of Connecticut will save approximately $38 million annually for the care of low-income individuals through expanded federal cost sharing."
"In 2006, I made a promise that I would not accept taxpayer subsidized health care, which is provided to all Members of Congress, until all Americans have access to affordable coverage. I have kept that promise and am pleased to say that with this legislation, all Members of Congress and their staff will be required to enroll in the insurance Exchange. This will give equal access for Congress and the people we represent, which is what I have sought since my entrance to Congress."
"I have listened very carefully to the voices and diverse opinions of my constituents. I have heard loud and clear the concerns and views of those opposed to the bill, who patiently demonstrated their rights as Americans to have their voices heard, and they were."
"Equally, I have heard the call from numerous constituents and small businesses that are barely scraping by under the burden of double-digit premium increases. This reform package will help small businesses, help my constituents, and strengthen our overall economy, while cutting the federal deficit."
"This may not be a perfect bill, but it is a very good proposal, and it will have my support. Social Security and Medicare were not perfect plans, but have become two of the greatest support systems for all Americans."
"It may be hard for some to see how beneficial this will be to their lives today, but over the next few weeks, months and years, we will be a stronger nation for taking this important step together."
Congressman Joe Courtney has now updated his health care reform resource page, which answers many of the Frequently Asked Questions about the reform proposal.