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Important First Step: Health Reform Legislation Introduced In House

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Important First Step: Health Reform Legislation Introduced In House

Last week, the three House Committees responsible for health care legislation, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor, jointly introduced legislation to advance health care reform. The Committee on Energy and Commerce, on which Rep. Sutton serves, will continue to consider the legislation this week.

To read the full content of the bill, click here.

"We have known about the need for health care reform for decades," Rep. Sutton said. "We must fulfill the commitments we made to deliver what the American people decisively voted for last November - access to affordable, quality health insurance. It is time to convert our talk into action."

The U.S. health care system is not a total failure. It is particularly good in some respects, such as developing new treatments. However, its inadequacies and gaps have created deep deficiencies in the system that, without reform, cannot be sustained much longer.

"I have met with many Ohioans who, based on their personal experience with our current health care system, have stressed that there is a serious need for reform," Rep. Sutton said. "My constituents want more preventive care, more primary care services, an end to limits on pre-existing conditions, and coverage for all."

As health care costs continue to increase year after year, families, doctors, hospitals, and businesses are all struggling to pay the rising costs.

"Americans should not have to decide between receiving medical treatment and putting food on the table," Rep. Sutton said. "Furthermore, Americans should have health care coverage when changing jobs, losing a job, or starting a new business. This is important to the entrepreneurial spirit of America - without this, grave barriers block the American Dream."

Rep. Sutton and her staff welcome your questions and concerns to come up with the best possible solution to America's health care crisis.

Quick Facts on America's Affordable Health Choices Act and Health Care in Ohio:
* Roughly 7.4 million people in Ohio receive health insurance on the job, where family premiums average $12,689 - about the annual earning of a full-time minimum wage job.
* The percentage of Ohioans with employer-based coverage is declining: from 71 percent to 65 percent between 2000 and 2007.
* 11 percent of people in Ohio are uninsured, and 64 percent of them are from families with at least one full-time worker.
* Since 2000 alone, average family premiums have increased by 92 percent in Ohio.
* Household budgets are strained by high costs: 20 percent of middle-income Ohio families spend more than 10 percent of their income on health care.
* High costs block access to care: 12 percent of people in Ohio have reported not visiting a doctor due to high costs.
* While small businesses make up 72 percent of Ohio businesses, only 47 percent of them offered health coverage benefits in 2006 -- down 5 percent since 2000.
* Ohio businesses and families shoulder a hidden health tax of roughly $1,000 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured.

Significant Benefits to Ohio's 13th District:
* 75,000 uninsured individuals will gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.
* Up to 13,000 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees.
* 2,400 seniors will avoid the donut hold in Medicare.
* 2,000 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs.
* Health care providers will receive payment for $62 million in uncompensated care each year.

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