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Rep. Chu's Statement on Passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act

November 9, 2009
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA32, issued the following statement today on the passage of the House version of the health care reform bill, H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009:
"With today’s passage of H.R. 3962, America has never been closer to truly reforming our broken health care system," said Rep. Chu. "The magnitude of this accomplishment cannot be overstated: for six decades, Congress and a number of presidential administrations have tried – and failed – in this monumental task. So President Obama and our Leaders in Congress deserve great credit for bringing us this far, and I am honored and humbled to have been a part of the debate over what I truly consider to be the most important piece of legislation of this century.

"I believe the ultimate goal of health care reform is to provide stable and affordable health care for every American while preserving what works in today's system, expanding choice, and containing costs.  The Affordable Health Care for America Act accomplishes those goals by creating a public health insurance option that would compete on a level playing field with private insurers within the Health Insurance Exchange. It protects Americans from being discriminated against by insurance companies due to gender or pre-existing conditions. And it opens up the health insurance system to tens of millions of individuals who currently cannot afford it, which is particularly important in areas of our country such as my own District, where fully one-third of residents are uninsured.

"A bill of this size and complexity can never be perfect, As a long-time supporter of a robust public option, I would have preferred a stronger government plan with the power to better negotiate rates and help keep overall premiums down.  I am also disappointed that under H.R. 3962, legal immigrants will still have to wait five years before being able to access Medicaid or Medicare benefits.  But faced with the choice of reform or continuing the status quo, I felt that I had to support reform, and this bill goes a long way toward reforming our system for the better.

"We now await news from the Senate as it moves forward with its own version of the health care reform bill.  I will work hard to encourage our colleagues in the other chamber to preserve the most important components included in the House bill, particularly the public option. I also urge our Senators to incorporate that aspect of the House bill that ensured that our states are provided with adequate federal funding to cover the expansion of Medicaid to individuals and families to 150 percent of the poverty level.

"The American public recognizes the need for this bill.  Groups ranging from the American Medical Association and the American Association of Retired Persons have endorsed the House version of the bill, as well as hundreds of constituents in my district who have turned out at my town halls clamoring for reform. With today’s House vote, we are changing our health care system for the better and ensuring that America treats its people with the respect, dignity and compassion they deserve."