July 31, 2009
Henderson, NV 89074
Thank you for contacting me about health insurance reform. Americans across the country are struggling to afford the high price of health care or lack access to the care they need, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.
In Nevada nearly a quarter of 18- to 64-year-olds go without health care coverage, and as the effects of the recession continue to grip our region, more Nevadans are losing their insurance or are finding it harder to keep up with rising costs. Nevada's small businesses are also feeling the strain, as the high cost of health care is making them less competitive and dragging them down at a time when they are struggling to stay afloat.
As the health care debate in Washington, D.C., continues, one thing is clear: The status quo is unacceptable. In my 20 years in the Nevada Legislature and in my short time in Congress, I have strongly supported health insurance reform. I campaigned on the issue, President Barack Obama has promised it, the people have demanded it, and the country needs it.
The average American family pays an extra $1,100 a year in premiums to support the uninsured. And with premiums having doubled in nine years and growing three times as fast as wages, now is the time to act.
But to make health insurance reform a success, we must do it right. Nevada and our nation need health insurance reform that lowers costs, improves the quality of care and allows those who like their doctor or current plan to keep both. I want people to be in control of their health care, not insurance company CEOs or government.
Reforming our health care system is a critical component of our nation's long-term fiscal health, and we must ensure that the steps we take do not unfairly burden small businesses. Small businesses are the engines of growth in our economy, and their recovery will be critical to our efforts to pull Nevada out of this recession and create jobs that put people back to work.
Many positive aspects of health insurance reform were included in legislation that came before the House Education and Labor Committee on which I serve. Ending the practice of denial based on preexisting conditions and preventing insurance companies from placing a cap or limit on the benefits they will cover are critical reforms that we must pursue. I also support proposals to eliminate co-pays for preventive care.
But I also have concerns about the effect the legislation could have on our small businesses. I want to make it very clear that my opposition to this bill in the committee was not to protect the rich or put the needs of the few above the needs of the many, but to say that we can do better.
Businesses in Southern Nevada are struggling, making it harder for Nevadans to find jobs, let alone ones that provide health care. The current version of this legislation increases taxes that could hurt our small businesses and slow economic recovery at a time when we must do all that we can to strengthen the businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
It is also critical that Congress continues to explore other options to pay for health insurance reform, looking at every alternative before turning to increased taxes. This includes cutting back on waste, fraud and abuse in the system. We should invest in health information technology, which will make health care more efficient and affordable by reducing administrative costs and duplicative tests.
We also need to invest more in preventive care and wellness and control skyrocketing drug prices. There is still room for additional concessions from private insurers and pharmaceutical companies as well.
As the effort to reform our health care system continues, I look forward to seeing a final bill that meets the critical principles of controlling costs, providing choice, expanding access and strengthening the competitiveness of our small businesses. Only then will we have real health insurance reform that will give people the coverage and peace of mind they need.
Thank you again for taking the time to get involved. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of future service.
Member of Congress
Friday, July 31, 2009
NV-03: Dina Titus Answers My Questions
OK, this is what I was waiting for. Dina Titus finally answered my questions on health care! Was it what I was hoping for? Not exactly, but hopefully she's being honest when she says she hasn't already decided to block HR 3200.