Today, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz voted for an historic bill that reforms our nation's health insurance system, brings down the deficit and expands access to affordable, quality health care for nearly every American. The Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962 offers security and stability to all Americans, reduces costs, improves coverage and preserves our choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans.
"Tonight I cast my vote on behalf of the 135,000 families in my Congressional District without health insurance," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "I cast my vote on behalf of small businesses, like SE Mechanical Service in Hollywood who struggled last year to cover skyrocketing health care premiums, and wonders how they will cover the 28% increase they've been quoted for 2010. I voted on behalf of Carol, who told me that on top of fighting breast cancer, she also has to fight for health insurance because she lost her job."
Reforming health care is a crucial part of our economic recovery. Our bill cuts long-term health care costs and reduces the deficit by $109 billion over the first ten years, and continues to reduce the deficit to help grow our economy and put it back on sound footing.
The legislation passed today will cover 96% of Americans and guarantees stability, lower costs, higher quality, and a greater choice of plans for all Americans. It puts you and your doctor -- not the insurance companies -- in charge of your health care decisions.
If you have insurance, this bill:
* Keeps your insurance company from denying you care or coverage -- or charging you more -- because of diabetes, heart disease or any other "pre-existing condition."
* Gives you peace of mind that you won't lose coverage if you lose your job, move, or change jobs.
* Prevents insurance companies from dropping you because you get "too sick."
* Covers preventive care with no co-pays or deductibles.
* Limits out-of-pocket expenses your insurance company can make you pay.
If you don't have insurance, this bill:
* Lets you comparison shop for a quality, affordable health plan through a new health insurance exchange or marketplace.
* Offers you low group rates even for individual coverage.
* Helps lower your premiums with affordability credits for those who need help paying.
* Prevents any insurance company from denying you coverage for heart disease, diabetes or another "pre-existing condition."
* Extends coverage for young Americans, allowing them to stay on their parents' health insurance plans up to their 27th birthday if they choose.
* Includes a public health insurance option to compete on a level playing field with private insurers.
For our seniors, this bill:
* Strengthens Medicare, extending its solvency for years to come.
* Improves access to your doctor.
* Lowers Medicare drug prices by beginning to close the coverage gap or "donut hole" immediately.
* Reduces inefficiencies and program costs to help Medicare remain solvent without cutting benefits.
* Improves coordination and increases the quality of care for seniors with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.
"Today, we voted to pass meaningful health insurance reform after a century of trying," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "After nearly 100 hours of committee hearings and 239 considered amendments, we have passed a bill that will provide health insurance that offers stability and security for South Florida's families. This is the most important vote I have ever cast, and I will continue to work to send the strongest bill possible to the President."
In Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz's 20th Congressional district of Florida, the Affordable Health Care for America Act will:
* Improve employer-based coverage for 405,000 residents.
* Provide credits to help pay for coverage for up to 147,000 households.
* Improve Medicare for 102,000 beneficiaries, including closing the prescription drug donut hole for 12,700 seniors.
* Allow 22,400 small businesses to obtain affordable health care coverage and provide tax credits to help reduce health insurance costs for up to 22,300 small businesses.
* Provide coverage for 88,000 uninsured residents.
* Protect up to 1,200 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
* Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers by $177 million.