Saturday, November 7, 2009

Castor votes for health care reform bill

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, whose district includes part of Manatee County, released the following statement today regarding the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act:

“Today we are making history. At long last, Americans will have access to health insurance that is affordable and dependable. You will have coverage you can count on. Even if you change jobs, get sick or have a pre-existing condition, you will have affordable and meaningful health insurance.

“Floridians win. In the Tampa Bay area alone, nearly 2.3 million residents with health insurance will see improved employer-based health coverage. More than 100,000 area small businesses could qualify for tax credits to provide health insurance to their employees. And approximately 631,000 uninsured individuals will finally gain access to health insurance.

“The Affordable Health Care for America Act we passed today offers stability, security and vital consumer protections that will take effect immediately. You won’t have to pay co-pays or deductibles for preventive care and you won’t be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. You do not have to worry about insurance companies canceling your coverage if you are diagnosed with cancer or another ailment. You do not have to worry about health insurance companies barring you from coverage because you had cancer that is in remission or have recovered from heart disease. You will not go bankrupt when serious illness strikes. You will have meaningful, affordable, stable and dependable health insurance coverage.

“Insurance companies won’t be able to charge higher premiums based on your medical history or current medical condition. No discrimination means exactly that: No discrimination.
“Seniors, rest assured. You will see immediate improvements in your health care.

Approximately 92,100 Tampa Bay area seniors will avoid the Medicare “doughnut hole” for Part D prescriptions because of the legislation we passed today. More than 900,000 seniors in the Tampa Bay area will see immediate improvements to their coverage. I am pleased the AARP has endorsed this landmark legislation. We are truly doing right by seniors.

“We are helping our young adults and their families too. Parents can keep their children on their health insurance plan through their child’s 27th birthday. That means no more worrying about your children’s health insurance when they are in college or looking for their first jobs.
“Meaningful health insurance reform is long overdue in this country.”

Castor successfully authored numerous provisions in the bill that benefit Florida, including sections relating to graduate medical education, wellness initiatives for small businesses, aid for our trauma care, primary care improvements and penalties for unscrupulous Medicare marketing practices. Castor advocates for Florida on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee.

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