Chairman Waxman’s Statement on Historic Health Care Legislation

Mar 21, 2010 Issues: Health
Chairman Waxman made the following statement on the floor of the House of Representatives in strong support of the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) and the Senate Amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590):

Today is a historic moment. We will take decisive votes to provide quality, affordable health care to all Americans. This is a goal that Presidents of both parties have sought for a hundred years. We must act. The status quo is unsustainable.

This bill provides all Americans the security of knowing they will always be able to afford health care for themselves and their families.
The bedrock foundation of this legislation is that it builds on what works today, and reforms what doesn’t.

If you like your doctor and your current plan, you keep them. But we fundamentally reform the insurance company practices that are failing our families. Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage. We abolish lifetime limits on coverage, and your health coverage can no longer be rescinded by your insurance company if you get sick. We strengthen Medicare. Seniors who hit the donut hole will get some immediate help: a $250 rebate this year, and a 50% discount on their brand-name drugs next year - and the donut hole will be completely eliminated within a decade.

We provide coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans – not just those without insurance today but many who would otherwise be expected to lose their coverage in the coming years. We eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse, and reduce the deficit by over a trillion dollars. And we eliminate the special deal for Nebraska, providing all states equitable treatment under Medicaid.

The American people will see immediate benefits on enactment. Starting this year: Your children can stay on your policy through age 26, preventive care under Medicare is free, and children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage.

Today, we vote to make a profound difference for the better for the American people. Under the leadership of the President and our Speaker, we are poised to provide access to quality health insurance for all Americans.