Congress is working late tonight debating an historic health care reform bill. Congressman Jim Oberstar (DFL-MN) points out the bill is not perfect, but outlines why he supports it.
Madame Speaker, I have been a proponent of a national health care system as long as I have been in Congress, today we take a bold step towards that goal.
America has the finest doctors, the latest medical equipment, and cutting edge technology that is the envy of the world. But millions of Americans cannot access this system because they can’t afford health insurance. Those who are insured know that they are only one layoff away from losing it, or that rising premiums could price them out of coverage.
This bill is not perfect, but is it a good bill. The three committees worked hard to address the concerns of the people of my district, and over the past few days we have addressed my own concerns: regional disparities in Medicare reimbursement that have penalized Minnesota health care providers; ensuring that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortion services.
Last summer I met the Skare family of Cloquet, Minnesota. Whose son was born with a congenital liver disease that required him to have a liver transplant as a small child. Today, the family of this 20-year-old is buried under mountains of medical bills, despite the fact that they have insurance. They have to constantly fight insurance providers to make them live up to their commitments.
This bill will ensure that families like the Skares will not be held hostage to insurance companies. And it will protect all Americans from being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Today, we are keeping faith with the American people, ensuring that quality, affordable health care is available to everyone.