The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, a bill that represents a critical milestone in the effort to reform our health care system. H.R. 3962 will provide needed insurance reforms for Americans with insurance, expand coverage for those who do not have insurance, lower costs for families and businesses, and begin to reduce the Nation's deficit. It meets the President's criteria for health insurance reform: it assures that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care that is there when they need it and does so without adding a dime to the deficit.
This legislation is the product of unprecedented cooperation and countless hours of hard work by Members of the House of Representatives who share the President's conviction that the Nation cannot wait another year for health insurance reform. They have forged a strong consensus that represents an historic step forward.
The House legislation includes critical reforms to the insurance industry, so that Americans will no longer have to worry that they will be denied coverage, or that their coverage will be dropped or watered down when they need it most. It covers virtually all Americans and ensures that all Americans with health insurance are protected against high out-of-pocket spending. The Administration is pleased that the bill includes a public health insurance option offered in an exchange. As the President has said throughout this process, a public option that competes with private insurers is one of the best ways to ensure the choice and competition that are so badly needed in today's market.
The House bill also includes important health care delivery system reforms, and would extend the solvency of Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund. Its Medicare and Medicaid policies promote integrated care, quality care, and primary care. It invests in research on the most effective treatments, prevention, and the health care workforce. It also makes critical improvements for Medicare beneficiaries including closing the coverage gap in the Medicare drug benefit known as the donut hole. In addition, it provides new options for long-term care. Moreover, the House bill is fully paid for and will help to reduce the deficit in the long-term.
This bill provides the necessary health reforms that the Administration seeks — affordable, quality care within reach for the tens of millions of Americans who do not have it today, and stability and security for the hundreds of millions who do. The Administration appreciates the hard work of the House on this bill, which contributes to transforming the health care system. The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress on this legislation and urges quick action on this landmark bill.