Today House Democratic leaders unveiled their health care reform legislation, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by dozens of congressional supporters, explained that few pieces of legislation define the character of a nation- health care reform will shape future generations, “progress will be measured by the success of the American family to progress [under this bill].”
The legislation, HR. 3962 is a combination of three committee bills written by Representative Henry Waxman, Representative John Dingell, and Representative Charles Rangel. The deficit neutral bill will expand coverage to 36 million Americans, provide a public option, and outlaw widespread discriminatory practices that have prevented so many Americans from receiving quality and affordable care.
Women will be major beneficiaries of this health care reform plan, a fact understated in the health reform debate. A mother of triplets spoke of the blatant inequality women face in the current health care system. Ten years ago she paid $22,000 out of pocket for fertility treatments not covered under her insurance. Last year, after discovering that her family spent 1/3 of their income on health insurance, she applied for a new plan. She was denied coverage because her infertility was deemed a pre-existing condition and her husband was denied coverage because of spousal-infertility. HR. 3962 will ban all pre-existing conditions, so that no woman can be denied insurance for wanting to be a mother.
The legislation will also prohibit insurance companies from practicing gender rating- an insurance policy that forced 14 million women to pay 48% more than men for identical insurance plans.
Representative John Dingell, a lifetime Congressional Champion for universal health care said that this bill will bring peace of mind to Americans because it will ensure that quality and affordable care is available when they need it regardless of gender, occupation, age, and geography.
While we are stilling facing a tumultuous battle in both chambers of Congress, the sense of excitement and triumph was apparent in the faces of all members present at this historic event.
Watch the entire press event here: http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2009/10/29/HP/R/24837/Homepage+Health+Care.aspx