Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Says Health Care Bill Will Increase Coverage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:        
July 21, 2009

Contact:  Jake Rubin
(202) 225-5665

KAGEN:  HEALTH  CARE  BILL  WILL  INCREASE  COVERAGE

375,000 people in Wisconsin will gain health care coverage by 2019

(WASHINGTON, DC)  Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. says the proposed health care legislation will take us closer to our goal of guaranteeing access to affordable care for all of us.  According to a report released today by Families USA, 233,000 people in Wisconsin will gain health care coverage under America’s Affordable Health Choices Act by 2013; 375,000 by 2019.

Kagen will join doctors and nurses today from across the country in support of reforms included in America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.

“I am working hard to be the voice of my patients, my constituents and my colleagues in medicine as we take the necessary steps to guarantee access to affordable care for all of us,” said Dr. Kagen.  “The 8th Congressional District Health Care Advisory Committee developed the ‘Essential Elements of Health Care Reform’.  I am proud to say that several of these elements are in this legislation.”

The ‘Essential Elements of Health Care Reform’ include: no discrimination based on pre-existing medical conditions, an open and transparent marketplace where competition on level playing field will drive down prices, a standard health benefits plan that all insurers must offer, and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in our health care delivery system.  The 8th Congressional District Health Care Advisory Committee is made up of doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, small business owners and representatives from insurance providers and non-profit community service organizations.

According to Families USA, a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, the health reform legislation moving through the U.S. House of Representatives would reverse the continued and growing loss of health coverage by American families and would give millions of Americans the security of stable, quality, affordable coverage.

Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, cites several reasons.  “First, it stops insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing health conditions. Second, it offers substantial, sliding-scale subsidies so people can afford health coverage. Third, it limits the out-of-pocket costs families pay when a loved one gets sick. And fourth, it strengthens the safety net for our most economically vulnerable families.  By extending and protecting health coverage, it will lower health premiums for those people who currently have insurance. It will do so by reducing the so-called ‘hidden health tax’ that gets tacked on to insurance premiums to pay for the care received by the uninsured – a hidden surcharge that averaged $1,017 for family coverage in 2008.”

Titled “Coverage for America: We All Stand to Gain,” and based on legislative analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the report says that the House bill would add health coverage for 23 million people in 2013, the first year of implementation, and 37 million by 2019, the last year for which the CBO provided data.

“Increasing coverage is good for our economy.  Health care is the biggest expense for every family, every businesses and government at every level.  When we reduce costs for health care, we will keep more money in our pockets, reduce taxes, and allow small businesses to create jobs.  We can do that with this legislation,” said Kagen.

A copy of the Families USA report, “Coverage for American: We All Stand to Gain,” is available at:  www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/health-reform/coverage-for-america.pdf

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