We need comprehensive health care reform that will provide all Americans access to affordable, high-quality health care. Today we are confronted with a health care system that is broken. 47 million people are uninsured, and many more cannot afford the insurance they have or the costs of much needed treatments. Premiums are skyrocketing and patients are too often denied coverage from insurance companies seeking to make a profit. In fact, New York families have seen their insurance premiums grow 7.3 times faster than their wages over the last 8 years. Additionally, large medical bills have contributed to half of all bankruptcies and foreclosures in our country. Now is the time to put politics aside and solve this health care crisis.
The plan we are working on will be a uniquely American solution. Reform will be patient-centered and will provide all Americans the freedom to continue to choose their own doctor and their own plan. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Patient oriented reform will be instrumental in keeping insurance costs down and promoting better coverage.
But as important as it is to reform our health care system, we need to get this right.
I have worked with my colleagues to ensure that the bill that passed the House of Representatives, H.R. 3962 The Affordable Health Care for America Act, includes provisions that were key priorities for me. Specifically, H.R. 3269 will provide coverage for 96% of Americans and includes a public health plan option. In fact, the bill contains a number of important provisions that are essential for an effective nationwide healthcare system. Finally, I am committed to ensuring that any reform effort does not place additional burdens on the poor or middle class, which is why the Affordable Health Care for America Act does tax employee health insurance benefits.
Despite the well-publicized rancor of some attendees at town-hall meetings, roadblocks created by opponents of reform, and a concerted effort by some corporate and conservative interests, true healthcare reform is no longer a pipe dream, but a reality that is finally within our reach.