Add another Virginia Democrat to the “yes” list on health care reform legislation. Now, we just need Congressmen Boucher and Nye. C’mon guys, you can do it!
WASHINGTON – Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) said today he will vote for the historic health insurance reform legislation scheduled for a vote Sunday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“For the past year, my constituents have told me they want health insurance reform, but only if it meets certain tests,” Connolly said. “Will it bring down premiums for families and small businesses? Will it reduce the deficit? Will it protect their choice of plan and doctor? Will it improve access to care?”
“The answer to each of these questions is ‘Yes, it will’,” Connolly said in a statement to be delivered on the House floor.
More after the “flip”
“I and many others in the House may have reservations about elements of this Senate bill, but after carefully reviewing the reconciliation bill before us today I am confident that this final reform package does still meet those tests outlined for me by my constituents,” he said.
“Make no mistake. This is not an easy vote for any of us,” Connolly said. “We are tackling an issue that Congresses before us have been struggling with for the better part of the past century since Teddy Roosevelt first called for comprehensive health care in America.”
Calling the vote a “historic crossroads,” Connolly said, “We can choose to set our nation on the path to improving the access to and quality of health care for millions of Americans, young and old, and finally containing the costs of that care, or we can continue the status quo. Doing nothing threatens to leave more families without the basic care they need and bankrupt our small businesses, the engine of our economy, as they buckle under the costs of providing insurance for their employees.”
Connolly said the legislation will safeguard Medicare benefits for another generation, close the so-called doughnut hole to lower drug costs for seniors, protect guaranteed benefits, and cut waste, fraud, and abuse in the program. “Without reform, AARP says millions of seniors and their families will be at risk of bankruptcy because of skyrocketing costs for long-term care services.”
In the 11th Congressional District of Virginia, Connolly said the legislation will: lower premiums by 14 to 20 percent for the self-employed and others who purchase their own insurance, provide tax credits and other assistance to help 87,000 families and 16,800 small businesses afford coverage, and protect more than 1,400 families from medical bankruptcy in the next year alone.
“These are meaningful reforms for which Democrats, Republicans, and the American people can be proud,” he said. “Contrary to what some might contend, this is a bipartisan bill. The House and Senate bills include distinct Republican ideas and amendments. In fact, 147 of them are in the bill before us today. But rather than engage in a rational, thoughtful debate on this complex and critical reform, the organized opposition has preyed on the public’s fear and anxiety and repeatedly fallen back on bumper-sticker slogans.”
“Right now, 14,000 Americans lose their health care coverage each day because of out-of-control costs. We cannot afford to delay any longer,” Connolly said.