Access to quality, affordable health care is one of the most serious problems our country faces. Without access to affordable health care, our children cannot learn properly, parents cannot be as productive at work, and our seniors are forced to choose between food, shelter, or medical care.
46 million Americans are a single serious illness away from destitution because they lack health insurance. We must do more to ensure access to affordable health care for all of us at the doctor each of us chooses. And we must fund cutting-edge research into cures for diseases that take our loved ones away too soon. Only through action on these critical issues can we meet the pressing health care concerns of our nation.
I am a supporter of Federally Qualified Health Centers, which provide health care to underserved populations regardless of the patient's ability to pay. By providing preventative screenings as well as treatments, these community health centers provide professional health care for those in our community. Local health care like this also reduces the need for more expensive emergency room care, lowering costs for taxpayers.
I have taken action to strengthen the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), known as FamilyCare in New Jersey. Specifically, I supported H.R. 3162, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 which expanded health care coverage for New Jersey's children and their families. More recently, I voted for the State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. For our state, this means that thousands of children enrolled will maintain their current coverage and many more will get access to preventative or life-saving care. With additional federal dollars, New Jersey will also be able to provide health care for thousands of children who are currently eligible for the program but not yet enrolled.
On February 13, 2009 I voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which made a significant investment in the National Institutes of Health to expand biomedical research and bring our health care system into the 21st century. These investments will create many high-tech job opportunities in New Jersey.
A priority of mine this term is to reform health care. I will fight to make sure that any legislation contains costs; guarantees choice so you can pick your own doctor and plan; improves the quality of care my constituents receive; and finally ensures that all Americans have health insurance.