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Ryan: House bill will expand health care



Published: Wed, November 4, 2009 @ 12:08 a.m.

By William K. Alcorn

The House bill has a public option that will be run like Medicare.

YOUNGSTOWN — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan says an estimated 43,000 uninsured 17th Congressional District residents would receive health-care protection if the House version of health-care reform is adopted.

During a telephone press conference Tuesday, Ryan said an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office confirms that H.R. 3962 will succeed in controlling costs and lowering premiums of health care.

Ryan said the CBO estimated that by 2016, health-care annual premiums would be $5,300 for an individual and $15,000 for a family of four if H.R. 3962 is adopted. This is well below the $24,000 family premium expected if Congress fails to act and premiums grow as projected under current law, he said.

Ryan, of Niles, D-17th, also released figures on the local impact of H.R. 3962 (Affordable Health Care for America Act) prepared by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

It isn’t only the uninsured in the 17th District that H.R. 3962 would help, he said.

The house committee’s analysis said the bill would improve employer- based coverage, provide tax credits to many households to help pay for coverage, improve Medicare and provide prescription drugs for all seniors.

Also, it would enable small businesses to obtain affordable health-care coverage and provide tax credits to help reduce health- insurance costs, and reduce the cost of uncompensated-care hospitals and health-care providers, the congressman said.

The bill requires people now getting free care at hospitals to make co-pays, thereby bringing down the cost of health care for those who have it and allowing those who don’t have it to get preventive care.

“One of the problems with Medicare is that we have people not yet eligible for Medicare, but don’t have health care, who wait until they get on Medicare to take care of their health problems,” Ryan said.

That is much more expensive than it needs to be. If these people had health-care coverage, their medical problems would be managed earlier before they require critical care, thereby reducing costs overall, Ryan said.

Ryan, who acknowledged the bill will almost certainly get no Republican support, nevertheless said he is confident it will be passed, hopefully by the end of the week. He thinks health-care reform will become a reality sometime in December.

He added that in the eight or nine years he has been representing the area, he has learned that one of its most pressing issues is the anxiety people have about losing health care.

He said the bill will allow parents to continue to cover their children on their insurance until they are 27, and it has a public option that will be run just like Medicare, to go along with private options.

He said it is estimated that by 2019, only about 10 million Americans would be enrolled in the public option.

It is just an opportunity to provide some choice and help keep competition honest, Ryan said.

Also, Ryan said, under the plan, no public money could be would be allowed for abortions.

“I think this is something our community needs. We’ve been waiting for 30 years. No one needs it more than the Mahoning Valley,” he said.

“For us not to say as a nation that everybody should have health care is ridiculous. We want to make health care a right for all, not just for the privileged,” he said.

alcorn@vindy.com

BENEFITS TO AREA RESIDENTS

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan lists ways he thinks the House health care reform bill, H.R. 3962, would help 17th District residents:

43,000 uninsured would receive health care protection.

Employer-based coverage for 355,000 of the district’s 700,000 citizens would improve.

Up to 1,700 would be saved from bankruptcy caused by unaffordable healt-care costs.

Credits to help pay for coverage for up to 180,000 households would be provided.

Medicare for 109,000 beneficiaries would be improved.

The prescription-drug coverage gap for 9,100 seniors would be closed.

14,000 small businesses would be able to obtain affordable health-care coverage.

Tax credits to help reduce health-|insurance costs for up to 12,300 small businesses would be offered.

The cost of uncompensated care hospitals and health care providers would be reduced by $20 million.

Parents could continue to cover children on their insurance until they are 27.

Denial of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions would be prohibited.

Source: U.S. Rep. Timy Ryan


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