Cross posted on Blue Commonwealth
The House of Representatives has just taken the historic step of passing comprehensive health care reform. I want to congratulate President Barack Obama and the members of our Virginia Congressional delegation who voted for the bill: Democratic Congressmen Jim Moran, Bobby Scott, Gerry Connolly, and Tom Perriello. Their strength and leadership has helped to preserve a better tomorrow for all Virginians. Joining these gentlemen in voting “yea” as your Congressman from the 10th District is the only way I could feel prouder to be a Virginia Democrat. The bill passed tonight will extend affordable coverage, fix our broken healthcare system, and lay the groundwork for long-term cost cutting.
By extending affordable coverage to 30,000,000 uninsured Americans we will bump the number of Americans with health insurance to 95%. No longer will parents have to make the gut wrenching decision of choosing between healthcare for themselves and healthcare for their kids because coverage was just too expensive for the whole family. No longer will people be stuck in dead-end jobs due to pre-existing conditions. No longer will small businesses and individuals pay more than big companies for healthcare. No longer will insurance companies cancel health coverage after a severe illness occurs.
Health care reform will have a positive impact on small businesses. I have spoken with small business owners all over the 10th District who tell me that the passage of this bill means they will be able to extend coverage to their employees. For-profit health insurance companies will no longer stifle the small business owner who is trying to compete in today’s challenging marketplace.
Finally, this bill takes the important step of cutting overall heath care costs. The United States currently spends 16% of our GDP on healthcare. That is twice the percentage of many of our global competitors. This bill lays the groundwork for cutting costs.
It is important to remember that today’s passage is an important and long overdue step-but the job is not done. We will need to constantly monitor our health care system to make sure these reforms actually produce their desired affects. If they do not, I will tell you immediately. When I am elected to Congress, I will work with my neighbors and colleagues on continuing to improve our health care system. We must continue to cut costs and work on effective implementation.