Rep. charlie Wilson's remarks on tonight's passage of the health reform bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville, D-6th, supported the passage tonight of the historic health reform bill — The Affordable Health Care for America Act — passed with a vote of 220-215. His 6th District covers 12 counties, stretching from lower Mahoning County south and west, nearly to Cincinnati. After the vote, he released this statement:

“Today I voted in favor of historic reforms to our nation’s health care industry. I have long-said I would support a plan that brought stability and security to the health care system, lowered the cost of health care, and insured broader coverage, without increasing our deficit. After months of deliberation, with these conditions met, I proudly cast my vote for the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

"Reforming health care is a crucial part of America’s economic recovery. The bill cuts long-term health care costs and reduces the deficit by $109 billion over the first ten years, and continues to reduce the deficit to help grow the economy and put it back on sound footing.

"The legislation passed today will cover 96 percent of Americans and guarantees stability, lower costs, higher quality, and a greater choice of plans for all Americans. It puts individuals and their doctors – not the insurance companies – in charge of your health care decisions.

"If you have insurance, this bill:

"Keeps your insurance company from denying you care or coverage — or charging you more — because of diabetes, heart disease or any other 'pre-existing condition.' ”

"Gives you peace of mind that you won’t lose coverage if you lose your job, move, or change jobs.

"Prevents insurance companies from dropping you because you get 'too sick.'

"Covers preventive care with no co-pays or deductibles.

"Limits out-of-pocket expenses your insurance company can make you pay.

"If you don’t have insurance, this bill:

"Lets you comparison shop for a quality, affordable health plan through a new health insurance exchange.

"Offers you low group rates for individual or family coverage.

"Helps lower your premiums with affordability credits for those who need help paying.

"Prevents any insurance company from denying you coverage for 'pre-existing conditions.'

"Extends coverage for young Americans, allowing them to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans up to their 27th birthday.

"Includes a public health insurance option to compete on a level playing field with private insurers.

"For seniors, this bill:

"Strengthens Medicare, extending its solvency for years to come.

"Improves access to your doctor.

"Lowers Medicare drug prices by beginning to close the 'donut hole' as early as next year.

"Reduces inefficiencies and program costs to help Medicare remain solvent without cutting benefits.

"Improves coordination and increases the quality of care for seniors with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.

“I have always promised my constituents that I will vote in their best interest. While this bill may not be perfect, its benefits to the residents of my district are undeniable.

"In Ohio’s Sixth District, the Affordable Health Care for America Act will:

"Improve employer-based coverage for 365,000 residents.

"Provide credits for up to 174,000 households to help pay for coverage.

"Improve Medicare for 116,000 beneficiaries, including closing the prescription drug 'donut hole' for 9,200 seniors.

"Allow 12,600 small businesses to obtain affordable health care coverage and provide tax credits to help reduce health insurance costs for up to 11,300 small businesses.

"Provide coverage for 45,000 uninsured residents.

"Protect up to 1,300 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

"Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers by $89 million.

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