(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the health insurance reform bill that passed the Senate by a vote of 60-39 on December 24, 2009.
“Today’s historic vote brings Washington state families and small business owners one step closer to lower premiums, more choices, and the health care security and stability they deserve. Health insurance reform will put important health care decisions back into the hands of patients and their doctors and will finally force insurance companies to compete for the business of the American people.
“Reforming our broken health care system hasn’t been easy, but I have fought for it so hard because it is absolutely critical. I have heard from so many families who simply can’t continue to afford their skyrocketing premiums. Small business owners have told me that they want to cover their employees but rising costs make that impossible. And too many Washington state families don’t have insurance at all, and their expenses are passed along to the rest of us every time they need care.
“When President Obama signs the final legislation into law, families in Washington state will begin to benefit immediately. Insurance companies will no longer be able to cut coverage when someone gets sick. Lifetime limits and caps on services will be prohibited. Children with pre-existing conditions will be able to access coverage. Small business owners will get tax credits to cover their employees. And 159,000 Washington state seniors who fall into the “doughnut hole” will have their prescription drug costs cut in half and will get a $250 rebate to help them with the other half.
“Throughout this debate I have told the stories of Washington state residents who have shared their health care needs with me. I shared with President Obama and so many others the story of Marcelas Owens, a young boy from Seattle whose mother lost her job, lost her insurance, and ended up losing her life. Though health care reform has come too late for Marcelas’ mom, millions of Washington state families will be able to count on it being there for them for generations to come.
“I will be working in the Senate over the coming days to make final changes to the law that passed the House today, passed the Senate with 60 votes in December of last year, and will be signed by the President shortly.”