Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor released the following statement upon passage of historic health insurance reform legislation.
Castor, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had a direct hand in drafting many provisions that will benefit Floridians and their health. Her leadership role was recognized, as she was the first Floridian to speak for the Bill on the floor of the House.
“Today I sided with American families in passage of landmark health care reform. Health reform is as historically momentous as adoption of Social Security and Medicare.
“My vote for health insurance reform is a vote in favor of families and small business owners, a vote in favor of providing the security and stability that Americans have long wanted in their health insurance.
“Millions of Floridians will benefit from health insurance reform, from the 9.6 million Floridians with health insurance who will see broad new consumer protections; to the 2.7 million uninsured Floridians who will be able to shop on a transparent health insurance exchange; to the 488,000 small business owners who will be eligible for tax credits; to the 3.2 million Medicare beneficiaries who see their benefits improve; to the 1.3 million young adults who will now be able to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.
“For the 9.6 million Florida families with health insurance, reform will bring important new consumer protections. Insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your coverage when you get sick. If you change jobs, you cannot be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, like diabetes or asthma. Parents can keep their children on their policies until age 26. We also ensure that when you pay your hard-earned premiums and copayments, the bulk of those funds will actually go to health care, rather than exorbitant CEO salaries or bonuses.
“For 3.2 million of our parents, grandparents and neighbors on Medicare, benefits will improve. Not one benefit will be cut. Prescription drug coverage improves. Doctors who serve Medicare patients will receive a boost in pay so we keep the best doctors treating our seniors. Seniors also will receive better wellness and preventative care, which will save money and save lives.
“Because of our work here today, millions of seniors, pregnant women and children in Florida will continue to be able to see the doctors they want to see because incentives for those doctors who treat them will increase. Medicaid reimbursements to primary care physicians will be raised to meet Medicare. “Small business owners and millions of Floridians without access to affordable insurance will now have access to a shopping exchange where they can compare plans. More than 488,000 small business owners and millions of Florida families also will be eligible for tax credits to ensure coverage is affordable.
“Florida colleges, universities and students also benefit substantially with new scholarships for the medical professions and hundreds of new positions for doctor medical residents (doctors in training).
“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Offices says that by passing health insurance reform, we are cutting the deficit by $143 billion throughout the next decade, with additional savings of more than $1.2 trillion in the following 10 years. By passing health care reform today, we are investing in our economy today and in the years to come.”