Congressman Joe Courtney released the following statement following House passage of the final health care reconciliation proposal with amendments, which the Congressman supported (click here to watch Courtney's video statement to his constituents following the vote):
"Passing this bill is an act of real progress toward helping families, individuals, and small businesses get access to affordable health insurance," said Courtney. "This legislation is a major step in fixing our broken health care system and will begin to do so immediately."
Congressman Courtney spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives during the final debate. Click here to watch his statement.
Congressman Courtney announced on Friday that he would support the health insurance reform legislation. Click here to read his full statement from Friday and to watch his announcement on CNN.
Residents of Connecticut's Second District will see immediate benefits as soon as the legislation goes into effect:
* The package provides small business tax credits beginning in 2010, which will help small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage, and beginning in 2014, the small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.
* Starts to close the Medicare Part D Donut Hole in 2010 by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole. Beginning in 2011, the package institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole and completely closes the donut hole by 2020.
* Within six months, bans discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions. By 2014, this prohibition would apply to both children and adults.
* Ends the practice of "rescissions" by insurance companies within six months, preventing insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.
* In six months, it begins to require health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents' insurance policy, at the parents' choice.
* Prohibits health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage within six months. Also within six months, it tightly restricts new plans' use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care.
* Requires private plan coverage of preventative care in six months, requiring new private plans to cover preventive services with no copayments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles.
* Immediately starts to invest in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals.