Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the new, merged health reform bill this morning. Here is a comprehensive online clearinghouse that includes the full bill and various fact sheets.
It is with great pride and with great humility that we come before you to follow in the footsteps of those who gave our country Social Security and then Medicare and now universal, quality, affordable health care for all Americans…
But I am very grateful for the cross-section of members that we have — generationally, geographically, philosophically, in every way, from all of the committees of jurisdiction that worked on this legislation and also members of the caucus who participated over and over again under the leadership of our chairman, John Larson, and our vice chair, Xavier Becerra.
So here we are. For nearly a century — it’s really over a century — leaders of all political parties, starting over a century ago with President Theodore Roosevelt, have called and fought for health care and health insurance reform.
Today we are about to deliver on the promise of making affordable, quality health care available for all Americans, laying the foundation for a brighter future for generations to come.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is founded on key principles of American success: opportunity, choice, competition and innovation. We have listened to the American people, we are putting forth a bill that reflects our best values and addresses our greatest challenges. And we are putting it online for all Americans to see.
Here’s what our health insurance reform legislation will mean to American families, workers and the economy. This is why this legislation is important: affordability for our middle class. It lowers costs for every patient, reins in premiums, copays and deductibles, limits out-of-pocket costs, and lifts the cap on what insurance companies cover each year.
Affordability for the middle class, security for (inaudible) seniors: by strengthening Medicare secures the financial stability and solvency of Medicare for years to come, provides seniors with better benefits and guaranteed access to their doctors. And in this legislation, we will immediately begin to close the doughnut hole.
Affordability to the middle class, security for our seniors, responsibility to our children. It reduces the deficit, meets President Obama’s call to keep the cost under $900 billion over 10 years, and it insures 36 million more Americans — 36 million more.
As I said, the bill is fiscally sound, will not add one dime to the deficit, as it expands coverage, implements key insurance reforms and promotes prevention and wellness across the health system.
The bill will expand coverage, including a public option to boost choice and competition in the health insurance reform (sic).
It covers 96 percent of all Americans, and it puts affordable coverage in reach for millions of uninsured and underinsured families, lowering health care costs for all of us.
One other very important feature is that it will end discrimination for preexisting medical conditions.
It opens doors to quality medical care to those who are shut out of the system for far too long. And because of the work of our members and — meetings across the country, we know that prevention and wellness are an important part of this legislation. It puts a major new emphasis on preventative care, expands access to screenings and other treatments to keep Americans healthy and promote workplace wellness.
The drive for health care reform is moving forward. The Affordable Health Care Act will ensure, again, affordability for the middle class, security for our seniors, and responsibility to our children.
As we consider — continue to move through the legislative process, it is critical to remember what this means to the American people. Today we will hear stories that serve as our inspiration. We will listen to people whose hopes are our motives for action.
Our president has said our success will be — our progress will be measured by the success of America’s families in making progress for themselves. And so these stories are a place that need our attention, will have our action, and we look forward to hearing them.
Here’s the comments from the press conference from California Congressman Xavier Becerra. Health Access California, Health Care for America Now! and many other groups will be helping host a town hall in Los Angeles with Rep. Becerra this Saturday, October 31st.
He’s a member of leadership, and provided some historical context as he introduced Rep. John Dingell, the long-serving dean of the House, and long-time champion for universal health care.:
In 1935, Franklin Delano Roosevelt stood up and fought for Social Security. There were many who said no, but he had the courage to stand up.
In 1965, Lyndon Baines Johnson stood up and had the courage to say yes to Medicare, despite the fear that was shouted out by many along with their no.
And today all of us here gather together to say yes to America, because we have heard you, we see it in your eyes. You are telling us it is time to reform our health care system for all of our families; not tomorrow, not in 40 years, but today. And we hear you loud and clear.
We know that you have fought to keep your children insured. We know that you have fought against those insurance bureaucrats who deny you care. We know that you scramble to find the money to pay that monthly premium. And we know that you would not go one day without doing everything you could to help your child or your spouse or your parent have access to the quality affordable care that we all deserve.
We will be with you because it is time for quality health care we know exists in this country.