Statement Of Congressman Brad Sherman Regarding Address Of President Barack Obama To Joint Session Of Congress, September 9, 2009
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) issued the following statement after President Barack Obama addressed a Joint Session of Congress on the issue of health insurance reform:
"Tonight the President began to do something that we needed to do early in the process: explain to Americans who like their health coverage why a change in law is necessary.
"The President was clear. If you like the coverage you have, and we adopt his reform proposal, you can keep what you have.
"However, if you like the coverage you have, and we do not adopt a reform proposal, you will not keep what you have. A failure to change our laws guarantees very adverse changes in the health insurance marketplace.
"As people with good coverage already understand, their Insurance cards are shrinking. Every day, there are higher deductibles, higher copayments, limits on what services are provided, and the total amount that can be spent to keep any one person alive. Every day, the costs to employers and to employees, goes up. And every day some employers either drop coverage, or switch to some super-high deductible plan.
"Even if your employer continues to provide great coverage, your employer must compete with other companies that are providing less. Every day your employer is paying more for health coverage, and some of your employer's competitors are paying less--by dropping or gutting the health coverage they offer to their employees.
"Today, there are 46 million uninsured and one in five persons taken to the emergency room does not have coverage. Hospitals do not collect for the emergency services provided to the uninsured. Hospitals must then increase what they charge those patients who do have coverage. Those increases are translated into higher charges to your health insurance company, and higher premiums to employers and employees. As a result of these increases, some employers drop coverage.
"Soon we'll have 56 million or 66 million uninsured. Soon it will be one in three, or one in four persons taken to an emergency room that do not have coverage, and for whom the hospital is not paid. At that point, hospitals will have to close their emergency rooms because they cannot charge two patients who have coverage enough money to cover one patient who doesn't.
"Again, if you like what you have and we adopt the President's plan, you keep it. If you like what you have and we do not adopt the President's plan, you lose it.
In Support of a Public Option:
"A public option is of vital importance in putting together a health reform package. The public option will compete with the private insurance companies, forcing them to provide real coverage at fair prices. A public option does not mean the end of private insurance. It will actually lead to better private insurance. The introduction of express mail by the post office has hardly put Federal Express, UPS, and DHL out of business.
"The statutory proposals are clear. The public entity will not receive subsidies. It will compete fairly with existing private insurance companies."