Van Hollen Fights To Reform Health Care System
Today, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Assistant to the Speaker, delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, landmark health reform legislation that will lower health care costs for American families and small businesses, increase access to quality and affordable health care and finally holds insurance companies accountable.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today our nation stands at an historic crossroads.
We can choose the road that dead ends in the status quo, where the health industry will continue to call the shots and ration our health care, or we can pass this bill and take the path that will provide every American citizen access to quality, affordable health care.
What we do in this bill is preserve what's best and fix what's broken. We currently face unsustainable skyrocketing health care costs that are breaking our family's budget, forcing businesses to drop health insurance, and will eventually bankrupt our nation.
We saw health insurance premiums more than double between 2000 and 2008, and during that period of time health insurance profits soared by 400%.
How did they do it? Essentially by saying no to people who had pre-existing conditions and using the fine print in insurance policies to deny people promised benefits when they needed help the most.
This bill will end those abuses. It ends the antitrust exemption that shielded the health insurance industry from price fixing.
It establishes a health insurance exchange -- like a shopping supermarket for health policies -- that provides more choice, including a public option.
Mr. Speaker, that's why the Consumer Union and Consumer Reports supports this legislation.
That's why the AARP, the largest organization protecting the rights of seniors has endorsed this.
That's why the doctors of America have endorsed this.
I understand why the insurance industry opposes this bill, but our job is not to protect the special interests of the insurance industry.
Our job is to do what's right by the American people. Let's move this country forward. Let's vote yes for America.