Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano voted in support of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which will extend access to health care to millions of Americans currently uninsured, dramatically improve health care for those already covered, and ultimately reduce the federal deficit by $30 billion over the next ten years.
"This is the health care reform bill Americans elected us to pass," Napolitano said. "It has taken years of research and deliberation, consideration of ideas from both sides, and the efforts of seven presidents, but we are finally addressing this country's health care problem. Once this bill is passed and signed into law, families will no longer have to live in fear of bankruptcy caused by an illness or accident, businesses will not have to bear the burden of rising health care costs, and the most vulnerable in our communities will finally be given some measure of protection. Health care reform must not be put off any longer, and it is critical that this bill pass the Senate and be signed into law."
Napolitano's 38th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Norwalk, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and La Puente, has a population that is 27% uninsured compared to the national average of 15%. In the 38th District, the bill is estimated to protect 1,100 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs per year, reduce the cost to hospitals for uncompensated emergency room visits by $27 million, and close the Medicare prescription drug donut hole for 7,500 seniors who currently pay out of pocket.
"This bill will provide coverage for more than 121,000 people in my district who are uninsured, and it will reduce the premiums for thousands more," Napolitano said. "It's not one hundred percent of what many hoped for, but it will mean a lot to those who currently have no health care coverage, who are just one accident or illness away from catastrophe and the loss of their life savings."
Napolitano also welcomed the mental health provisions provided in the bill, which make mental health an essential part of basic coverage, fund new screening programs to catch mental health problems early, and encourage care for suicide attempt survivors and individuals with serious mental illness.
"Increasingly, mental health is as important as physical health for the happiness and success of our youngsters, our families, our communities and our returning vets," Napolitano said. "The mental health provisions in this bill are a victory for anyone who's seen a friend or family member affected by mental health issues."
Rep. Napolitano is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, and has been a supporter of the public option since she signed onto a public letter of support with fellow progressive lawmakers in July.