Health care bill to bring positive effects
On Sunday evening, March 21, 2010, I cast my vote in support of health insurance reform legislation that will extend coverage to 45,500 uninsured residents in Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District, improve coverage for 473,000 folks who have insurance, bolster Medicare for 113,000 Southern Indiana beneficiaries and veterans, including closing the prescription drug doughnut hole and not affecting TRICARE, guarantee that 10,900 constituents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage, protect 2,000 Hoosier families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs, allow 62,000 of our young adults to retain secure coverage by staying on their parents’ insurance plans and provide significant tax credits to our small business owners who provide their employees with coverage.
The legislation also allows all Americans to access a private insurance exchange similar to the one offered to me and my colleagues and stops the abusive practices of insurance companies, while achieving such goals in a fiscally-responsible manner.
Our nation has been debating health care reform for decades now. And, I have been consistently straightforward in my support of revamping our current system. Throughout my congressional tenure, I have heard countless stories of how our present system has failed hard-working Hoosier families and how insurance companies have engaged in unconscionable practices not deployed by any other industry. My vote for the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act was acting upon these stories, ultimately choosing to stand with those that have been shortchanged for far too long and not the big insurance companies.
I have also been consistently straightforward in my concern about this nation’s deficit. This bill covers more uninsured Americans than the respective House and Senate bills while also reducing the deficit more effectively. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the revised bill reduces the deficit by $138 during the first 10 years of the program and reduces the deficit by more than $1 trillion dollars in the second 10 years, effectively making it the biggest deficit reduction legislation since 1993.
I also believe folks back home will begin to feel the positive effects of this bill in a timely manner. Beginning soon and continuing over the course of this year, the reform measure will ban insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, create a temporary high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions to secure affordable care, prohibit insurers from dropping people when they get sick, eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on coverage, require new private plans to cover preventative services and immunizations with no co-payments, allow young people to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until their 26th birthday, make small businesses that provide coverage to their employees eligible for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of premiums and give Hoosier seniors a $250 rebate to offset the price of high prescription drug costs. In addition, the bill allows time for states to create their own health insurance exchanges, providing folks with an array of private coverage options.
This has been a long, deliberative and passionate process, and I appreciate your input throughout it. The final product, I believe, is fiscally responsible, inclusive and effective. Several notable organizations also support the reform legislation, like AARP, American Hospital Association, Catholic Health Association, United Methodist Church, National Rural Health Association and the American Medical Association.