The final health insurance reform legislation that will be voted on by the House this weekend, and debated in the Senate soon after, is now available. As the President said in Ohio, “We have debated this issue now for more than a year. Every proposal has been put on the table. Every argument has been made.” This legislation represents the best ideas to emerge from both sides of the aisle to put American families and small business owners—not the insurance companies—in control of their own health care.
- It makes health insurance affordable for middle class and small businesses—including the largest middle class tax cuts for health care in history – reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
- It gives millions of Americans the same types of private insurance choices that members of Congress will have—through a new competitive health insurance market that keeps costs down.
- It holds insurance companies accountable to keep premiums down and prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions.
- It improves Medicare benefits with lower prescription drug costs for those in the ‘donut hole,’ better chronic care, free preventive care, and nearly a decade more of solvency for Medicare.
- It reduces the deficit by more than $130 billion over next ten years, and by more than one trillion dollars over the following decade; reining waste, fraud and abuse; overpayments to insurance companies and by paying for quality over quantity of care.
The health insurance reform legislation Congress is about to vote on makes important improvements to the bill passed by the Senate last December---a bill that is built upon the principles the President has been outlining all year. The new provisions improve that legislation by:
- Providing the biggest middle class tax cut for health care in history and making health insurance even more affordable for middle class families.
- Strengthening consumer protections and reining in insurance company abuses
- Further reducing the deficit in the first and second decades. With the new changes, this bill will become the largest deficit reduction effort in more than a decade
- Closing the gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors covered by Medicare, known as the donut hole, and extending the solvency of Medicare
- Expanding health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans, guaranteeing that 95% of Americans will be covered.
Closing out his remarks in Ohio, the President sent a message to Congress to finish the job that ring true today:
The American people want to know if it’s still possible for Washington to look out for these interests, for their future. So what they’re looking for is some courage. They’re waiting for us to act. They’re waiting for us to lead. They don’t want us putting our finger out to the wind. They don’t want us reading polls. They want us to look and see what is the best thing for America, and then do what’s right. (Applause.) And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership. And I know these members of Congress are going to provide that leadership. I don’t know about the politics, but I know what’s the right thing to do. And so I’m calling on Congress to pass these reforms -- and I’m going to sign them into law. I want some courage. I want us to do the right thing, Ohio. And with your help, we’re going to make it happen.
Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director