U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Vice Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, today applauded passage of historic health care legislation to provide Americans with access to affordable health insurance coverage. By a vote of (219 to 212) on the Senate Amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) and a subsequent vote of (220 to 211) on the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872), final health reform legislation was cleared for action in the Senate.
"We took a giant step toward ending a decades-long struggle to provide health care coverage for the citizens of this country who, despite their best efforts, cannot afford health insurance," said Rep. DeGette. "Countless children and people suffering from chronic conditions will soon see the benefits of this legislation. Today we are closer to ending the strangle-hold of rising health care costs on our country and making health insurance coverage a reality for the more than 30 million who feel the needless shame and pain of going without," she said.
Numerous provisions of the health reform legislation will take effect immediately, including providing small business tax credits to make employee coverage more affordable; prohibiting health plans from denying coverage to children with pre‐existing conditions; banning lifetime limits on coverage; and requiring health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents' insurance policy, at the parents' choice.
In the First Congressional District of Colorado, an analysis of the health care reform bill estimates it will:
· Improve coverage for 365,000 residents with health insurance.
· Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 181,000 families and 21,600 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
· Improve Medicare for 80,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
· Extend coverage to 104,500 uninsured residents.
· Guarantee that 18,500 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
· Protect 1,300 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
· Allow 52,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans.
· Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 52 community health centers.
· Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $54 million annually.