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From the Desk of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy

McCarthy Votes in Favor of Heath Care Insurance Reform

I was proud to vote with a majority of my colleagues in favor of historic legislation that gives 32 million more Americans health insurance, stops insurance companies from denying coverage for individuals with a pre-existing condition, closes the prescription drug doughnut hole and brings down health care costs for all Americans.

This legislation will not only make coverage more affordable for Long Island families, but it will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion in the first 10 years and $1.2 trillion over the next 10. This bill takes significant steps to address the out-of-control growth of health-care costs that are devastating our families and small businesses.

In the 4th Congressional district, the health care reform bill will:

· Improve coverage for 444,000 residents with health insurance.

· Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 82,000 families and 23,000 small businesses to help them afford coverage.

· Improve Medicare for 102,000 beneficiaries, including closing the doughnut hole.

· Extend coverage to 34,500 uninsured residents.

· Guarantee that 9,600 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

· Protect 700 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

· Allow 53,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.

· Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $115 million annually.

The key to keeping our economy on the road to recovery is to promote small businesses.  The continued development of small businesses will play a crucial role in reviving our economy, and it is Congress’ duty to protect small businesses and give them the incentives and abilities to compete and thrive.  This legislation includes important provisions that will benefit small businesses.  Those businesses with 25 or fewer employees and average wages of less than $50,000 will qualify for tax credits for up to half the costs of providing health insurance.  Additionally, small businesses with 100 employees or less will be able to join the health insurance exchange, thereby benefiting from group rates and a greater choice of insurers.  Over 20,000 small businesses in our district could benefit from either of these provisions.

There have been some misconceptions about this bill that need clarification.  If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will pay nothing more. If you are an individual earning less than $200,000 a year, you will pay nothing more.

There has been much misunderstanding and many false statements regarding the bill and the issue of federal funding of abortion.  Over 60 Catholic women’s religious orders representing almost 60,000 Catholic Sisters, said it best when they stated, ‘It will make crucial investments in community health centers that largely serve poor women and children.  And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.  It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments - $250 million – in support of pregnant women.’

Some have been concerned that Congress would be exempt from parts of the bill and that is simply not the case.  The bill specifies that members of Congress and their staffs will have to receive health insurance coverage through the state-based health insurance exchanges that the bill creates.  These exchanges will give individuals and small businesses new access to the health insurance market and large group rates that Members of Congress and federal employees have long enjoyed.

I echo the sentiments of the over 350 organizations, like AARP, the American Nurses Association, American Medical Association and Federation of American Hospitals, that we have waited for decades for meaningful health care reform.  By enacting these provisions right away, we will be able to lower costs for everyone and give all Americans and small businesses more control over their health choices.

 To see the full list of organizations that support the legislation and for other information on the health care legislation please visit my website, http://www. carolynmccarthy.house.gov/.