On Sunday night, the House passed historic health care reform. It took more than a year to reach this point and many times over the last 12 months, rhetoric often overshadowed substance. Finally, Americans will have the benefit of significant health care reform, something that has taken decades to accomplish.
On Sunday night, the House passed historic health care reform. It took more than a year to reach this point and many times over the last 12 months, rhetoric often overshadowed substance.
Finally, Americans will have the benefit of significant health care reform, something that has taken decades to accomplish.
There are many worthwhile provisions in this bill and key highlights worth pointing out.
- This historic legislation extends coverage to 32 million more Americans who previously struggled without health care.
- It prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, health status and gender. Many people have struggled with this unfair approach for years, risking bankruptcy and sometimes foregoing needed medical care.
- It creates health insurance exchanges so people will have an opportunity to purchase affordable coverage.
- The bill significantly increases funding for our nation’s community health centers, where many of our most vulnerable citizens seek care.
- Key investments will also be made in training our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.
- In just one effort to improve the Medicare system available to our seniors, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole would be closed. Starting in 2010, Medicare beneficiaries will see an immediate change in the affordability of their prescriptions.
- Additionally, low and middle income Americans will be offered premium tax credits and cost-sharing assistance, providing families and small businesses with the largest tax cut for health care in history.
Does this bill do everything I want? No, and I can’t think of a single piece of legislation I ever voted on that did. As you all know, I support single payer and I wanted a strong public option in this bill. The House bill, which I supported, had a public option. This bill does not.
As you know, I consulted a wide range of experts on all of these matters before deciding to vote yes on this legislation. After the changes were made to the Senate bill in reconciliation, I cannot find a single hospital administrator, teaching hospital, community health center advocate, doctor association, nurse association, union representing hospital workers or health care advocacy group that represents the people and workers of Massachusetts who think I should have cast a no vote.
It is my hope that this landmark legislation will not only bring relief to those in need of health insurance, but will also serve as a starting point for further needed reforms.
Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D - Mass) represents the Eighth Congressional District.
Wicked Local Allston