FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 2, 2009
Contact: Jake Rubin
KAGEN HEARS FROM CONSTITUENTS WHO WILL BE HELPED BY NEW HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL
(GREEN BAY, WI) Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D is working hard to ensure that the Affordable Health Care for America Act addresses the needs of families in Northeast Wisconsin.
“The winning ideas in this new legislation came directly from people in Northeast Wisconsin,” Kagen said. “As a physician, I have spent 33 years listening to concerns of my patients. I am here to tell you this bill is good for our health and our economy.”
Kagen heard from Michelle Maisonneuve, a Sturgeon Bay cancer survivor who is struggling with what she described as out-of-control costs and an unresponsive insurance carrier. “It has been three weeks and I have yet to have my telephone calls returned,” she said.
Maisonneuve needs an additional surgery to prevent infection. But her insurance will not cover the procedure, and she has already paid thousands of dollars out of pocket to cover related medical expenses.
“I want to get back to a normal–somewhat normal life,” she said. “I just don’t think people realize the problems that are out there until you really need your insurance.”
Joyce Janus, a member of the American Association of Retired Persons, thanked Kagen for “helping seniors by working to close the Donut Hole in Medicare Part D.”
After explaining that the bill includes provisions not only to close the Donut Hole, but to strengthen Medicare for seniors throughout the state, Kagen heard from Kristene Stacker, executive director of the Fox Cities Community Health Center, and Laura Waldvogel, executive director of the Nicolet Medical & Dental Clinic.
“Closing the donut hole in Medicare part D will be very helpful,” Stacker stressed. “Every year in August and September we begin to see people who have hit the Donut hole, but do not have the financial means to afford their costly medications and do not qualify for prescription assistance programs through the drug companies, and have to try to make it until the end of the year. The immediate $500 closure of that gap will provide much needed assistance to our limited income elderly.”
Waldvogel emphasized the growing pressure that rising insurance costs exert on clinics in northeast Wisconsin.
“Every individual deserves access to quality health care regardless of their socioeconomic status,” she said. “Our grandparents should not have to discontinue critical medications for easily treated medical conditions because they have to decide between that and paying for groceries. Northern Health Center’s, Inc. and our patients are very thankful for the efforts of Congressman Kagen and others who are working so diligently to address the need for health care reform.”
Kagen pointed out that the new bill, H.R. 3269, represents significant improvements over the older H.R. 3200, including medical malpractice reforms, deeper discounts for prescription drugs, the total elimination of anti-trust exemptions for health insurance corporations, an extension of COBRA benefits, provisions for covering children on their parents plans until age 27, and increased payments to Wisconsin hospitals and doctors who care for Medicare patients.
“According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill will reduce the federal deficit by over $100 billion in the first 10 years,” Kagen explained. “It is something we can afford and is a positive step towards securing quality care for all of us at a price we can all afford to pay.”