Below are two responses I recently received from US Senator Sherrod Brown and US Congressman Pat Tiberi with regards to the Health Care Bill. As Tiberi mentioned in his letter about the lack of allowing everyone to hear and discuss this issue publicly, I have also included a video on that very subject at the end of this post.
Dear Ms. Hottinger:
Thank you for sharing your views regarding health reform.
When it comes to health care, the cost of inaction is simply too high. More than 390 Ohioans lose their health insurance every day. Small businesses and the self-employed often pay double or triple what large businesses pay for coverage. By 2007, 62 percent of bankruptcies were due to medical costs. And forty-five thousand Americans die each year because they are uninsured and can’t get the care they need. American families and businesses deserve better.
On November 7, 2009, the House of Representatives passed legislation, the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), by a vote of 220 to 215. A consolidated Senate health reform bill, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (H.R. 3590) was passed on December 24, 2009, by a vote of 60 to 39. Though similar in many respects, these bills are not identical. Congress is currently working to take the best parts of both bills and produce a final piece of legislation.
The bill passed by the Senate late last year, with my support, would lower costs for middle class families with insurance, while providing help to 31 million Americans who lack it. This legislation would also invest in small businesses by providing an immediate tax credit to help employers afford health benefits for their workers, and would place an immediate ban on pre-existing condition exclusions for children. Despite the great deal of misinformation circulating about health reform, seniors on Medicare would see their prescription drug costs cut in half, not increased, and for the first time, would have access to free annual check-ups and preventive screenings. The bill, which has been endorsed by AARP, would also extend Medicare’s solvency by nearly a decade.
Overall, passage of both the House and Senate legislation means that Americans are one step closer to having affordable insurance options if they change or lose their jobs. It means we are one step closer to ending insurance industry practices that cut off access to medically-necessary care or discriminate against women or individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. And it means we are one step closer to ensuring that insurance companies will have to spend premium dollars on medical care – rather than on lavish sales trips and exorbitant CEO salaries – or else give rebates to consumers.
As Congress moves forward on health reform, I will certainly work to address your concerns. If you wish to learn more about my work on health reform as well as the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that Ohioans have posed to my office, please visit my website at:
Thank you again for getting in touch with me on this important issue.
United States Senator
Mrs. Cheri L. Hottinger
Newark, OH 43055
Dear Mrs. Hottinger,
Thank you for your email regarding healthcare reform. I agree with you on this issue and voted against H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. I appreciate this opportunity to correspond with you.
H.R. 3962 is flawed and I opposed this bill for many reasons. I believe we need to fix what's broken. We don't need a 2,000 page, $1.3 trillion bill that will continue to add debt to future generations.
Please rest assured I also do not support the current version of the healthcare reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate on December 24, 2009. I believe it is time we all come together, Democrats and Republicans, and discuss how we can provide lower cost and better healthcare coverage. Unfortunately the House Democratic leadership, headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has not asked Republicans to participate in these discussions. She has also not allowed C-SPAN cameras into rooms where discussions are taking place. In a December 30, 2009 letter, C-SPAN Chairman Brian Lamb requested that they "open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage." Payoffs and backroom deals are not the way our healthcare system should be reformed.
Again, thank you for your interest in this issue. If I may be of assistance in the future, please don't hesitate to contact my office.
Patrick J. Tiberi
Representative to Congress