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Former Insurance Commissioner Rep. Garamendi: "Our Country Changed for the Better Today"

March 23, 2010
Press Release

Millions of Americans will Feel Benefits of Health Care Reform this Year

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner and most recent Lieutenant Governor, today issued the following statement after President Barack Obama signed into law the health care reform bill recently voted on by the House of Representatives:

"It was a rare honor and privilege to join President Obama, Vice President Biden, and members of Congress as the President signed significant health care reform into law. In the long American tradition of progress and renewal, our country changed for the better today.

"Soon, health care coverage will be expanded to 32 million Americans. This law, along with technical modifications expected to clear the Senate in the coming days, improves with age. But let there be no doubt, the benefits of this bill will be felt immediately.

"This year, adults with preexisting conditions will be able to enroll in a high risk pool to make sure they finally have basic health care protections in preparation for full integration into our insurance system. This year, discrimination against children with preexisting conditions will end. This year, insurance companies will not be able to kick people off of their insurance because they are sick. This year, seniors stuck in the Medicare Part D donut hole will receive a $250 rebate and next year will see their prescription drug costs in the donut hole reduced by 50 percent. This year, small businesses will receive up to a 35 percent tax credit to help pay for health coverage for their employees. This year, new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventative care. This year, young adults up to the age of 26 will be allowed to stay on their parents’ health plan. This year, early retirees aged 55-64 will see additional relief to help them afford health coverage.

"I am proud to have supported this legislation, because I know it will help millions of people in California and across America. But I also know my work is not done. A good law has been introduced to America, but it is not perfect. In the cause of creating a more perfect union, I will continue to fight for comprehensive health care reforms in the months and years ahead, because healthy Americans create a prosperous America."