U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement today announcing his support for the Affordable Health Care for American Act (HR 3962) which is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives on Saturday:
The status quo is unacceptable
“After a full review of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, I am announcing my support for this important legislation. I support health care reform. The status quo is unacceptable.
Health care help for families
“The Affordable Health Care for America Act brings stability and security to families struggling with increasing health care costs. It gives much-needed financial relief to small business owners who cannot afford coverage for their employees. It provides coverage to the 104,000 individuals lacking insurance in Washington’s 2nd Congressional district. The bill improves the Medicare program for our seniors. And the bill stops the discrimination for people who have been denied coverage, or charged through the roof, because of their age or gender, or because they have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or cancer.
“Since July, I have held two in-person town hall meetings on health care reform that were attended by over 3,000 people, and two telephone town halls listened to by over 7,600 people. I participated in a League of Women Voters health care forum in Coupeville that was attended by over 300 people. And I held nearly 30 meetings on health care reform in the district with local doctors, patients, small businesses, families and hospitals. I have responded to nearly 5,000 constituent letters, emails and calls on health care reform to this point, and will respond to an additional 5,000 letters, emails and calls after I take this vote.
Major victory for Washington state
“Since the House of Representatives began crafting health care reform legislation, we have made great progress for Washington state. I brought local concerns to the attention of leadership in Washington, D.C. and fought hard to make sure the health care reform bill includes a fair deal for Washington state.
“Specifically, I pushed to protect access to health care for Washington state patients by ensuring that Washington state is rewarded, not penalized, for providing high-quality, low-cost patient care.
“This bill includes language to fix the long-standing Medicare reimbursement problems that have hurt access to health care in Washington state. This is a huge victory for our state.
Help for those with healthcare
“The bill also bans discrimination for pre-existing conditions, age and gender. No one should be denied coverage, or be charged through the roof, because of their age or gender, or because they have a pre-existing condition.
“It is also important to point out that this bill protects people’s choice of doctors and health plans. If you like your doctor or your health plan, you can keep your doctor or health plan. If you have good insurance that you like, nothing in this bill will take it away from you.
“And the Affordable Health Care for America Act expands access to quality, affordable health insurance options by setting up a Health Insurance Exchange that includes a public option that works for Washington state. This exchange provides one-stop, comparison shopping for qualifying individuals and small businesses.
Small business advantages
“Small businesses currently pay 18 percent more than larger firms to provide the same health insurance benefits to their employees. This exchange will help bring much-needed financial relief and stability to small business owners and their employees.
Help for seniors
“And finally, the bill improves Medicare benefits, strengthens the solvency of the Medicare program, and closes the “donut hole” in the Medicare Prescription Drug Program to better serve our seniors.
“I believe that a vote in favor of the Affordable Health Care for America Act is the right vote for Washington’s 2nd Congressional district.