WASHINGTON, DC (March 21, 2010) – Oregon Congressman David Wu (D-1st) said that the U.S. House of Representatives passing of H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 will stand as a monumental achievement in American political history.“Ninety-eight years ago, Theodore Roosevelt first tried to reform our health care system, and today we succeeded in passing health care reform legislation that will serve as the foundation of quality care for decades to come.
“In 50 years, we’re going to look back on the health care battles of today and wonder what was so hard about making these necessary changes. When we look back, health care reform will stand beside Social Security, the GI Bill, and Medicare as a pillar of American progress and humane values.
“I have listened closely to Oregonians over the past year, and I know that our current health care system is not working for them. This legislation makes significant investments in changing the failed status quo. Under this legislation, 32 million more Americans will have health care coverage, and even more importantly, the more than 200 million Americans who already have insurance coverage will have unprecedented security and stability.
“Under this bill, pre-existing conditions can no longer be used by insurance companies to deny you coverage. Families are protected from the devious practice of rescission, where insurance companies take your money for years and then yank your coverage when you get sick. Under this bill, annual limits or lifetime limits are banned, so you won’t go bankrupt if you get a serious illness like cancer or diabetes.
“In addition, we have made a vital and landmark commitment to move the American health care system away from paying doctors for the number of procedures and toward rewarding quality and results. Oregon is one of a number of states whose doctors receive Medicare reimbursements at rates far below the national average, despite delivering excellent and efficient care. The shift to a Medicare payment system that is based on high-value care means we will move away from the volume-based system that has exacerbated geographic disparities and led to millions of American seniors being unable to find a doctor.
“In addition, let us not forget that the bill we passed tonight also contains the largest investment in college aid in history. Thanks to this bill, many more college students will now have access to Pell Grant scholarships, and the maximum Pell Grant will be increased to $5,975 by 2017. In addition to reforming health care, we are making landmark investments in our students and our schools.
“Tonight, after a long and heated debate, we passed legislation that will touch the lives of all Americans and make substantial improvements to our health care system. I was proud to support this health care reform legislation and stand with my colleagues as we made history.”