Congressman Rush Holt has an excellent opinion piece in the Asbury Park Press today explaining his decision to support health care reform. He writes about those throughout the 12th congressional district who have written to or have spoken to him about their needs and concerns over this issue. And he is convinced that the reform that he supported and that was signed into law by President Obama will have a lasting positive inpact on his constituants.
“Listen to me” the placard read, held by the demonstrator. As Congress prepared to vote on the health reform legislation, I heard from passionate supporters for reform and against reform. The most passionate advocates argued that if I had listened to them, I would vote exactly the way they wanted me to. In fact, I did listen to them and lots of others.
Throughout the debate over health insurance reform, I talked with patients, seniors, doctors, nurses, small business owners and others to learn their perspectives. I heard from those unsure about the health care bill, but certain that the current system isn’t working for them. I value and understand the concerns raised during this debate.
For me, the debate about health insurance reform always has been about the families who struggle to secure and afford the coverage they need. It’s about patients with diabetes or cancer who can’t even obtain insurance. It’s about the small business owners who face rising costs paying for employees’ health insurance costs. It’s about seniors who can’t pay for their prescription drugs. It’s about the woman who explained that her father died because he did not have access to good health care. It’s about the hard-working, upstanding family forced to declare bankruptcy because their insurance company cancelled their coverage when their daughter’s illness became expensive.
When I voted for the health care package, I did so on behalf of the many thousands of New Jersey residents who desperately need greater control over their health care. My vote was for a constituent from Marlboro, who wrote me about his daughter-in-law who was diagnosed with breast cancer. While she has good coverage now, he believes she will have to stop working when she undergoes her cancer treatments, causing her to lose her insurance.
Because of reform, she can continue to have health coverage if she has to change jobs. She will be able to purchase coverage at group rates through a new insurance marketplace and have help with her insurance premiums to make sure they are affordable. She will not have to worry about being discriminated against because she has breast cancer. In fact, no one in the U.S. will ever be discriminated against because they have a preexisting condition, which can include diabetes, epilepsy or even pregnancy.
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