Here's Kathy Dahlkemper's official statement on her vote in favor of health reform, with the full version after the jump:
Washington—Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3) today announced that she will vote in favor of H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010. The announcement comes as President Obama has pledged to issue an executive order to apply the precedent of the Hyde Amendment to the health care reform package.
"Today is a great day for the American people and for the pro-life community. I am proud to support this whole-life legislation that preserves the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. This legislation will help pregnant women choose life by providing affordable care during their maternity and for their children before and after they are born. With the president's executive order, we can rest assured that no federal funds will be used for abortions. The time is now for health care reform in America, and this legislation will provide the reform we need while maintaining the status quo of the Hyde Amendment," said Rep. Dahlkemper.
The new health care reform legislation includes $250 million for a pregnancy assistance fund, which creates a competitive grant program for states to assist pregnant and parenting teens and women. It also makes adoptions a more viable option for lower income families by increasing the adoption tax credit to $13,170 and making the tax credit refundable. The new health care reform legislation further protects children by banning insurance companies from rejecting children with pre-existing conditions.
"So much of the opposition to this legislation is based on fear. Insurance companies and special interest groups have used fear tactics and misinformation to scare people into believing this legislation will somehow ration care, raise their premiums or intrude on their privacy. Nothing could be further from the truth," said Rep. Dahlkemper. "As a nation, we cannot allow fear to prevent us from taking action. That's not the American way. I'm telling my constituents right now—there is nothing to be afraid of in this legislation."
The new health care reform legislation will lower the cost of health care to seniors, families and small businesses while reducing the deficit by $130 billion over the next ten years, and by $1.2 trillion more over the following decade. It will create competition in the health insurance market; close the prescription drug donut hole for seniors and guarantee them preventative care; and, it will make health insurance affordable for small businesses through tax credits.
H.R. 4872 will have a major, positive impact on the 3rd District of Pennsylvania. Health care reform will:
· Improve coverage for 394,000 residents with health insurance.
· Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 172,000 families and 13,200 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
· Improve Medicare for 118,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
· Extend coverage to 23,000 uninsured residents.
· Guarantee that 7,600 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
· Protect 900 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
· Allow 51,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans.
· Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 22 community health centers.
· Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $43 million annually.
Without health care reform, health insurance premiums for families are expected to rise to an average of $1,800 each year. The cost of an employer-sponsored family health insurance plan will reach $24,000 by 2016—an increase of 84%. That means most American households will spend 45% of their income on health insurance. Without eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, the Medicare trust fund will become insolvent by 2017. Over the next 10 years, small businesses are projected to lose more than $52 billion in profits due to high health costs.
"The time for reform is now. Small businesses are burdened by health care costs that prevent them from expanding. Over the past 10 years, Americans with employer-sponsored insurance have seen their premiums more than double. Premiums are rising at a rate three times faster than wages. That's not sustainable. We must act now to reduce the cost of health care to businesses and families. Through this legislation, we will make health care more affordable for Western Pennsylvanians and reduce our national deficit by more than a trillion dollars," Rep. Dahlkemper said.
H.R. 4872 will immediately begin to make health insurance more affordable for seniors, businesses and families in Western Pennsylvania through:
· Small Business Tax Credits—Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage.
· Closing the Medicare Part D Donut Hole—Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010 and completely closes the donut hole by 2020.
· Free Preventative Care under Medicare—Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program.
· Extending Coverage for Young People Up to their 26th Birthday Through Parents' Insurance—Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents' insurance policy, at the parents' discretion.
· Ending Rescissions—Bans insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.
· Ending Discrimination Against Children with Pre-Existing Conditions—Prohibits health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.
· Banning Lifetime Limits on Coverage—Prohibits health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage.