FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 7, 2009
Contact: Jake Rubin
KAGEN VOTES TO PROTECT OUR FAMILIES AND GUARANTEE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CARE FOR ALL OF US
(WASHINGTON, DC) Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. is working hard to guarantee access to affordable health care for all of us. Dr. Kagen voted tonight for Affordable Health Care for America Act, the House health care reform bill.
“Tonight, we have taken a bold step forward towards securing the health and safety of all of our families. Working together, we are beginning to fix what is broken in our health care delivery system, guaranteeing that no family will lose their home or need to hold a bake sale just to pay for life-saving treatment,” said Kagen. “The bill we passed will immediately help senior citizens by beginning to close the Donut Hole in Medicare Part D and eliminating deductibles and co-pays for preventive services in Medicare. It will help everyone in Wisconsin by increasing the number of primary care physicians; securing continued coverage for workers who, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs; providing immediate help for the uninsured and expanding community health centers.”
Once the Senate passes their bill, the House and Senate will merge their two bills. Both the House and Senate must pass the combined legislation before it goes to the President who must sign it for it to become law.
“For my entire professional career, I have been listening to people share their health care stories. For more than thirty years, I listened to my patients and I have held countless listening sessions throughout Northeast Wisconsin since 2006. Everywhere I go, people are saying the same thing: Let’s fix what is broken, and improve on what we already have at a price we can all afford to pay. By passing the Affordable Health Care for America Act we are taking a critical step in that direction – strengthening and protecting Medicare along the way,” said Dr. Kagen.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act will cut the deficit by about $100 billion in the next ten-years and will cut the federal budget deficit in the decade after that. These savings are achieved by eliminating waste, making corporations who may benefit from these reforms pay their fair share, focusing on prevention and wellness, and reforming the Medicare payments to reward areas like Wisconsin.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act will fix the inequities that have caused health care costs to skyrocket – eliminating discrimination based on pre-existing medical conditions, creating competition on a level playing field, and developing a standard health benefit plan that all insurers must offer. It will also eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse now rampant in our health care system, saving consumers and taxpayer’s money. These were the essential elements recommended by the doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, small business owners, representatives from insurance providers and non-profit community service organizations that make up the 8th Congressional District Health Care Advisory Committee.
Kagen said, “I am proud to say that Congress has listened to the voice of Northeast Wisconsin placing these elements in the Affordable Health Care for America Act.”
The Affordable Health Care for America Act also takes critical steps to fixing America’s broken medical malpractice system. It sets up pilot projects to find the right balance between protecting patients and their families, which will allow physicians to do their jobs without threats of frivolous lawsuits. The new legislation also updates antiquated rules set up in 1945 that exempt insurance companies from anti-trust regulations, ensuring real competition in the medical malpractice insurance industry to lower premiums and create savings for doctors and patients.
“As someone who has been paying medical malpractice insurance premiums for three decades, I know that we need to fix this problem and strike the right balance. This issue came up frequently in our town hall meetings this summer, and I delivered that message to my colleagues in the House. I listened, came back and helped to write a better bill.”