Harkin: House Vote Sends Strengthened Health Reform Measure to Senate
Comprehensive Reform Increases Access to Affordable Care, Makes Health Insurance Companies More Accountable and Includes Historic Investment in Prevention, Wellness; Education Reconciliation Provisions Increase College Affordability
Sunday, March 21, 2010Kate Cyrul / Bergen Kenny (202) 224-3254
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) issued the following statement after the U.S. House passed the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010. With this vote, comprehensive health reform has passed and will go to President Obama for his signature. The reconciliation package now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration next week. Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“With this vote today, the House took a major step forward in the fight to put American families and small business owners—not the insurance companies—in control of their own health care.
“This legislation makes the Senate-passed comprehensive bill even stronger by providing coverage to some 95 percent of Americans. This will be affordable coverage, which will save thousands of lives and give peace of mind to those who have coverage now, but have a 50/50 chance of losing coverage in the next decade. It will provide relief from skyrocketing and unstable premiums and holds insurance companies accountable to keep premiums down and prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions.
“I am particularly encouraged that in passing comprehensive reform, we will, for the first time make an historic investment in prevention and public health to change our current sick care system into a true health care system. These reforms will truly bend the cost curve and rein in rising health care costs.
“And we provide all of these reforms while also reducing the deficit by $138 billion over next ten years, and by $1.2 trillion more over the following decade; reducing waste, fraud and abuse, paying for quality over quantity of care.
“With the reconciliation package, the Senate is also on track to enact one of President Obama’s key education priorities – a move that will make college more affordable and accessible. The measure eliminates billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies to banks and redirects that money to students and families in the form of increased Pell Grants to low-income college students, putting the priorities of students and families ahead of subsidies to lenders.
“We are on the cusp of history in this country. I congratulate Speaker Pelosi and House leaders on this historic achievement and look forward to working in the Senate to get a final bill to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”
For a list of the immediate health benefits of the bill, please click here.
For a list of the key improvements to the bill, please click here.
For a list of the Harkin-led prevention benefits, please click here.
For more details about the education reconciliation proposal unveiled earlier this week, please click here.
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