Speaker Pelosi, Leader Steny Hoyer, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, and other House Democrats held a news conference in the Capitol this afternoon to mark the successful passage of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act by the Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees:
President Obama also remarked this afternoon on the significant progress made on health insurance reform that will put patients and doctors back in charge and ensure quality, affordable, and accessible health care for America's middle class, saying:
In these past weeks, we’ve also built consensus around specific reforms on which there hasn’t been consensus before. Let me list some of those. And I want to particularly applaud the efforts of the committees in the House and the Senate who have worked long and hard to make this progress. We’re now at a point where most everyone agrees that we need to invest in preventative and wellness programs that can save us money and help lead healthier lives. We have an agreement on the need to simplify the insurance forms and paperwork that patients have to fill out everytime they go to a hospital or see a doctor. We have an agreement on the need to reform our health insurance system so if you lose your job, change your job, or start a small business, you can still get affordable health insurance. We have an agreement on the need to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. And we have agreement on the need for a health insurance exchange, a marketplace where people can compare prices and quality and choose the health care plan that best suits their needs.
…Make no mistake, if we step back from this challenge at this moment, we are consigning our children to a future of skyrocketing premiums and crushing deficits. There’s no argument about that. If we don’t achieve health care reform, we cannot control the costs of Medicare and Medicaid and we cannot control our long-term debt and our long-term deficits. That’s not in dispute. So we’re going to have to get this done. If we don’t get health care reform done now, then no one’s health insurance is going to be secure because you’re going to continue to see premiums going out-of-pocket costs going up at astronomical rates, and people who lose their jobs are having a pre-existing medical condition or changing their jobs finding themselves in a situation where they cannot get health care. And that's not a future I accept for the United States of America. And that's why those who are betting against this happening this year are badly mistaken. We are going to get this done. We will reform health care. It will happen this year.