Friday, November 06, 2009

The House votes on healthcare reform as early as tomorrow

Democrats are still working to get the 218 votes needed to pass healthcare reform in the House with a vote scheduled for as early as tomorrow. More on the situation from the New York Times.

Call your representative today and urge them to vote "yes" on this important bill! With the vote this close, your call may make a big difference.

I just called my Nevada representative, Dina Titus, who confirmed she is planning to vote for the reform legislation. And when I checked my email, I found this message from her:
For the past six months, I have traveled around the district talking with my constituents about health care reform. I have heard from thousands of Southern Nevadans at town halls and Congress on the Corners. I have hosted three telephone town halls to listen to concerns and questions about the health care reform bill that the House is expected to vote on in the coming days. Through roundtable discussions with doctors, health care providers, and small business owners, I have listened to their needs and fought to make changes to the final bill that address their concerns. Finally, through surveys and asking you to share your health care stories, I have solicited input from the people I am in Washington to represent.

I have heard strong voices on all sides of this important issue and the common theme has been that the status quo is no longer acceptable. I believe the new version of the health care bill in the House of Representatives will go a long way toward addressing the problems of Southern Nevadans, and it is legislation I intend to support when it comes up for a vote. It will reduce costs, improve access to care, increase choices, and strengthen Medicare.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act, which has been endorsed by AARP and the American Medical Association, will help millions of Americans by:
  • Banning the insurance industry practices of discriminating against those with preexisting conditions or withdrawing coverage for people when they get sick.

  • Immediately beginning to close the donut hole that forces nearly 13,000 seniors in our district to pay high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.
  • Eliminating co-pays for preventive services.
  • Eliminating “gender rating” by insurance companies which has led to women paying up to 48 percent more in premium costs than men for coverage through the individual market.

  • Ending the insurance industry’s exemption from anti-trust laws that has allowed it to stifle competition.

  • Establishing a grant program to encourage states to implement alternatives to traditional malpractice litigation.

  • Permitting states to enter into agreements to allow for the sale of insurance across state lines.

The new bill also addresses key concerns I had with the impact reform would have on small businesses in Southern Nevada by:

  • Increasing the income threshold at which households must pay a surcharge from $280,000 to $500,000 for individuals and $350,000 to $1 million for families so that 98.8 % of small businesses will pay no surcharge.

  • Including my amendment to allow more small businesses to enter into the Health Insurance Exchange to leverage their purchasing power to get lower rates.
With Nevada families and small businesses suffering under the weight of rising health care costs, it is time to take action to reduce costs and increase access to health care. I believe the legislation before the House, which is fully paid for and will cut the deficit by $30 billion over the next decade, will take great strides toward reforming our broken health care system and giving Nevadans peace of mind and assurance that they will have the coverage they need at a cost they can afford.

Sincerely,

Congresswoman Dina Titus

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