This afternoon, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI) met with representatives from Easter Seals to highlight the urgency of health insurance reform for children with pre-existing conditions. Easter Seals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for 90 years. Shannon Saunders Eaton of Ohio and Jessica Segal of Texas told their personal stories as a testament to why we must end insurance company discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions and disabilities:
Speaker Pelosi’s remarks:
On behalf of my colleagues, I want to say what a privilege it is to welcome back to the Capitol our friends from Easter Seals. They were here with us earlier in the year to fight for children's health as they have been doing on and on and on. With their help, we had big bipartisan support for the state children's health insurance legislation that the President signed into law. Thank you to Jerry Mattimore, who is the Chairman, and to Jim Williams, who is the CEO. I want to especially acknowledge Stephen Mullen, a volunteer from the San Francisco Bay Area who is with us this morning, as well as others from around the country.
It is really an opportunity for us to say thank you to the Easter Seals for what they do for our children, for the American people, what they have done ongoing. And when they decide to come to Capitol Hill, they make a tremendous difference. As I mentioned with SCHIP, and now helping with issues in our health bill that relate to people with pre-existing conditions. The bill is coming. It will be soon. And we believe that the more the public knows about how people with disabilities or pre-existing conditions are affected by the bill, they will be happy indeed. Every family in America is one phone call, one accident, one diagnosis away from needing what we have in our bill.
It is quite remarkable to listen to Shannon even though she did not make formal remarks, but she set the tone for the afternoon and her mom and to hear Jessica's resolve. They demonstrate so clearly that in our society we must respect people for what they can do, rather than judge them for what they cannot. They demonstrate so clearly why — as we address the issue of ending discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions — that discrimination is price discrimination in terms of the cost of health care. And we must honor the mission of the Easter Seals, which enables people to live, learn, work and play in our communities.
What's important to note about the legislation is that it is very important for everyone, but particularly for pre-existing conditions, is that there is a cap on what you pay in. There is no cap on the benefit that you receive- either in a year or in a lifetime. So this is a liberation. This is a liberation. Where people can live and plan and go forward with the confidence and they can do whatever they want to do and Jessica has demonstrated her resolve very clearly — hearing her story is such an inspiration. And we know that Shannon is going to do whatever she wants to do.
But there are many reasons why it is important to pass this legislation. We're very proud in particular of what it means to people with pre-existing conditions and for people with disabilities.