WASHINGTON – In an effort to bring down the skyrocketing costs of health care for Middle Tennesseans and reduce the nation’s budget deficit, Congressman Bart Gordon voted in favor of health care reform legislation.
“The bill passed today will reduce health care costs for families and small businesses; improve access to affordable care, regardless of pre-existing conditions; and lower our budget deficit,” Gordon said. “This bill will bring about major, commonsense remedies to our system that most Tennesseans agree are necessary, and it will do so while remaining fiscally responsible.
“Over the years, many Middle Tennesseans have told me how their families have struggled to get adequate and affordable health care. I voted for them today—people like Sherry in Eagleville whose family was evicted when medical bills wiped out their income, Rita in Liberty whose epileptic son was denied insurance, and Beverly in Cookeville who could not get employee-based health care even though she and her husband both worked.
“Because health care accounts for one out of every five dollars of the federal budget, this bill will be critical to the strength of our economy, our families and our nation’s fiscal solvency. We’ve debated this issue for almost a full year. Now is the time to move forward, look at how it benefits families and small businesses, and address the economic challenges our communities are facing.”
For small businesses and the self-insured, the health reform package, H.R. 4872, will create tax incentives, provide access to large purchasing pools, and allow individuals to buy policies across state lines.
For seniors, the bill will close the Medicare Part D donut hole and cover all copayments and deductibles related to preventive care.
Individuals with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease will be able to purchase private insurance without fear of rejection.
Families whose adult children are not receiving insurance from an employer will have the option of keeping their children on an existing family plan until age 26.
Cost-reduction measures in the bill, such as medical malpractice reforms and limits on waste, fraud and abuse will help rein in health care spending and will reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the 10 years after that.
The bill does not create any form of government-run insurance program or public option; instead, it expands access to existing private-sector insurance policies. The bill increases choice and competition in the private insurance system by allowing to individuals purchase health insurance across state lines and offering tax incentives to help individuals purchase affordable plans.