United States Senate Passes Historic Health Care Reform Bill, 60-39
THE NAACP WILL CONTINUE TO PUSH HARD FOR INCLUSION OF PROVISIONS TO KEEP COSTS DOWN THROUGH INCREASED COMPETITION AND OFFER THE AMERICAN PEOPLE A PUBLIC OPTION IN THE FINAL VERSION OF THE LEGISLATION AS CONFERENCE COMMITTEE WORKS OUT FINAL BILL
Earlier this morning, Thursday, December 24, 2009, the United States Senate passed, by a vote of 60 yeas to 39 nays, legislation to overhaul our Nation’s health care system, H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The bill will now be sent to a bicameral and bipartisan “conference committee” which will be charged with working out the differences between the House-passed bill and the Senate-passed legislation and producing a final version of the health care reform measure to be passed by the House and Senate again and signed into law by the President. It is during this crucial conference period that the NAACP will continue to advocate unwaveringly for inclusion in the final version of the bill of a public option, which was included in the House-passed version of the bill and which would increase competition among health care insurers, thereby lowering costs and increasing choice for more Americans among other issues.
The NAACP will also push for inclusion in the final legislation many of the important provisions that are in both the House and Senate bills, including a ban on insurance companies denying coverage for preexisting conditions; an expansion of dependent care so that older children can be covered under their parents’ policies; an increase in the number of children from low-and middle-income families who have health insurance; and making it illegal for insurance companies drop you if you become sick. Both bills also contain aggressive approaches to address the health care disparities that continue to plague so many racial and ethnic minority communities, which the NAACP strongly supports.
Americans today are too often struggling and straining under the burden of three related trends: shrinking health care coverage, rising health care costs or no health care insurance at all. Over the last decade, millions of Americans have found themselves uninsured, and millions more have become underinsured as the value of their coverage has declined. In the years 2008 – 2010, it is estimated that approximately 6,000 people a day, or almost 7 million Americans total, will lose their health insurance. Today, more than 46 million Americans do not have any health care insurance at all. At the same time, health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs have risen steadily, and the number of families who are facing unmanageably high health care costs continues to grow. Furthermore, in the United States today the color of your skin, your ethnic background and where you live can not only influence your health care access and quality; they can determine them.