WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement following Senate passage of health reform legislation:
“American families know first-hand that health insurance premiums have been skyrocketing,” Brown said. “This bill will lower costs for middle class families with insurance, while providing help to 31 million Americans who lack it. And insurers will have to play by a new set of rules, including an immediate ban on pre-existing condition exclusions for children.
“The bill also invests in small businesses – providing an immediate tax credit to help employers cover their workers. If we’re going to rebuild our economy, we need to ensure that small businesses – which create more than 64 percent of our nation’s jobs – are not crushed by exploding health costs.
“Seniors on Medicare will see their prescription drug costs cut in half and, for the first time, will have access to free annual check-ups and screenings. The bill, which has been endorsed by AARP, also extends Medicare’s solvency by nearly a decade.
“This bill means Americans will have affordable insurance options if they change or lose their jobs. It means an end to insurance industry practices that cut off access to medically-necessary care or discriminate against women or individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. It means insurance companies will have to spend premium dollars on medical care – rather than on lavish sales trips and exorbitant CEO salaries – or else give rebates to consumers.
“When it comes to health care, the cost of inaction is simply too high. More than 390 Ohioans lose their health insurance every day. Small businesses and the self-employed can pay double or triple what large businesses pay for coverage. By 2007, 62% of bankruptcies were due to medical costs. And forty-five thousand Americans die each year because they are uninsured and can’t get the care they need.
“American families can’t have economic security if they’re one hospital visit away from financial ruin. And American businesses can’t attract the brightest minds or compete globally if they’re saddled with unaffordable health insurance rates. American families and businesses deserve more affordable and dependable health insurance, and this morning’s vote moves us one step closer to that goal.
“The bill we are considering is not perfect by any means, and there are plenty of areas where it falls short of what I would like to accomplish. But there are about 31 million reasons to support it. ”