Senator Carper Celebrates House Passage of Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform

Measure Will Lower Health Care Costs, Reduce Federal Deficit, Improve Quality of Care, and Provide Health Insurance to 32 Million Uninsured Americans

WASHINGTON –Today Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) praised the House of Representatives’ passage of historic health reform legislation. By a vote of 219 to 212, the House passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, comprehensive health reform legislation which was passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009. The House then passed the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872), legislation that will make a series of targeted changes to strengthen and enhance the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, by a vote of 220 to 211. 

President Obama is expected to sign the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in the coming days. Following the President signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, the Senate will consider the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010. The combined health care measures – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010- would reduce the federal deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years, and provide health insurance to 32 million currently uninsured Americans.

“For the past two months, I’ve encouraged House Democrats to adopt the Senate-passed health care bill.  I am pleased that they have done so on an up or down vote. The next step is to address some of the special deals in the Senate bill like the so-called “Cornhusker” provision.  This evening House Democrats addressed some of these special deals by passing the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.  My Senate colleagues and I will consider this reconciliation legislation in the coming week, and I am hopeful we will also be able to pass this legislation.”
“The combined legislation would do more than enable people with pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage, while preventing insurance companies from canceling families’ coverage when they need it most.  Health insurance companies would be required to spend anywhere from 80-85 percent of premium dollars on clinical and health care in the future, up from an average of 65 percent today.  In addition, many small businesses would become eligible for tax credits to help them provide health insurance for their employees.  And, adult children through the age of 26 would remain eligible for coverage under their parents’ plans. 
“The legislation also calls for the creation of large purchasing pools, or exchanges, in every state to help rein in the cost of health care for families, individuals and small businesses.  States could enter into interstate compacts with other states, allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines.  Among the plans available through the exchanges will be a number of plans that are available to members of Congress.
“With the passage of this legislation, our country will begin moving away our current, expensive fee-for-service model toward care similar to that provided by the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and Geisinger in Pennsylvania.  Each of them focuses on primary care, on prevention, on chronic disease management and on providing electronic health records for patients.  For example, in the future, Medicare patients will be eligible for annual physicals instead of only one in their lifetimes.  Also, access to medicines will be improved for many seniors – helping to keep them out of hospitals – by effectively cutting the Medicare prescription drug program’s “donut hole” by some 50 percent immediately and by 75 percent over the course of this decade. 
“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that rather than increasing our nation’s budget deficit in the future, this legislation will reduce deficits by almost $140 billion over the next ten years and by as much as $1.2 trillion in the ten years after that.  While the cost of the ten-year plan is roughly $950 billion, CBO states that the cost is fully offset through a combination of saving in the package and by revenues. 
“Finally, while the legislation will not cover everyone in America, it will enable over 32 million people currently without coverage to obtain it, raising the percentage of those with coverage in America from 85 percent to 95 percent.  And, the legislation will also put our country on a path toward ending our distinction as paying far more money for health care than any other advanced nation, while getting worse results in many instances and still leaving tens of millions of Americans without coverage. 
“Is it perfect?  No.  Can it be improved?  Of course it can, and it will be a challenge for all of us to build on these reforms in the years to come.”
 Key Consumer Protections in the Comprehensive Health Reform Bill Will:
 – Eliminate pre-existing conditions for children immediately and for adults in 2014.
 – Guarantee 75% percent price discounts on brand name drugs for Medicare seniors who reach the prescription drug coverage gap.
 -Small businesses get a 35% tax credit so they can afford insurance for their employee
 – Require insurers to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26.
 – Prohibit annual or lifetime limits by health insurers.
 – Require health insurers to spend more of their premium revenues on medical services, with less going to administrative costs and profits – or else pay rebates to their policy holders.
More Details on the Comprehensive Health Reform Bill can be Found at: