Last Sunday night, we made history with the passage of real Health Care Reform.
For me, it was especially significant because I will no longer be denied health coverage due to my pre-existing condition. I will no longer be forced to pay a 100 percent increase in my health premiums due to my pre-existing condition. I will no longer be told by others that my experience with cancer at the age of 13 was my fault. They won’t be able to tell me that it’s simply okay that I suffered injustice and negative consequences from an insurance company.
Not only is this law a win for me, but it is a win for the American people. After this law goes into effect, over 95% of Americans will have health insurance coverage. That’s 32 million more people who, up to today, did not have insurance. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million lower-income Americans.
Now it’s a law, people will not be cheated by the insurance companies into paying premiums every year, only to be told that they are too sick to be covered for the insurance policy they paid for. Instead, insurance companies will not be able to drop your coverage.
Now that the bill is signed into law, no longer will students coming out of college with up to $100,000 of debt be forced suffer another added cost. Under the bill, young adults will be able to remain on their family insurance plans until age 26.
Now that the bill is signed into law, no longer will individuals and small businesses unable to afford insurance be treated like second class citizens. They will now have the ability to choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums, in the same way our members of Congress choose their plans. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.
No longer will the American people be told that the economic condition of the country cannot be fixed. This reform bill will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and another $1.2 trillion in the following ten years.
No longer will healthcare be a privilege, but instead, a given right.
However, some Republicans are now trying all they can to repeal these major reforms. They want to allow insurance companies to continue dropping coverage for people when they need it the most. They want to continue forcing people to pay increased premium rates. They want insurance companies to continue to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. They want to continue the status quo.
If the last 14 months of vigorous debate have taught the American people anything, it’s that we cannot afford the status quo anymore.
It is not my fault that I had cancer. And finally, with this law, that’s finally been acknowledged.