DNC Chairman Tim Kaine Issues Statement Praising the House of Representative's Historic Vote to Pass Health Insurance Reform

WASHINGTON – Tonight the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act, landmark health reform legislation that will ensure every American has access to quality, affordable, stable and secure health care coverage. The legislation, which cracks down on some of the insurance industry’s worst practices, would extend coverage to 36 million Americans and cut the deficit by $104 billion over ten years. Groups representing doctors and farmers, seniors, consumers, and cancer patients have endorsed the bill. It passed the House with only one Republican vote in support of the measure.

“This day has been a long time coming. Teddy Roosevelt first called for health reform nearly 100 years ago, but today – in the face of furious lobbying by the insurance industry and nearly unanimous opposition from Republicans – House Democrats accomplished something no other Congress has been able to do: pass comprehensive health reform legislation. I want to thank President Obama for his extraordinary leadership on this issue, and extend my congratulations to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Chairmen Waxman, Miller and Rangel, Congressman Clyburn and countless others in the U.S. House of Representatives for taking this historic step. 

“The Affordable Health Care for America Act will provide more security and stability to people who already have insurance by enacting much needed reforms to the insurance industry. No longer will an insurance company be able to deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or cancel someone’s coverage when they get sick. The Act will provide more quality, affordable choices for the millions of Americans who are uninsured. And the bill will bring down the high costs of care, for American families and businesses, while lowering our deficit.

“This historic day would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Organizing for America (OFA) in rallying the public to see through Republican scare-tactics and lies and energizing them behind the cause of our generation – meaningful health insurance reform.  In total, more than 2 million people participated in OFA’s grassroots campaign for reform by signing pledges, sharing their personal stories and hosting and attending one of the thousands of local events in all 50 states and all 435 Congressional Districts.  In the final week of August and the first week of September alone over 110,000 people attended a pro-reform event providing the necessary momentum that made possible this monumental achievement.

“Americans from all walks of life have endorsed this legislation. The AARP endorsed the bill because they believe it will reduce health care costs and expand coverage for older Americans.  The American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association have lent their support because they believe it will help to fix the problems in our broken system and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. The Consumers Union endorsed the bill because they believe it will create a more secure, affordable health care system, and the National Farmers’ Union has given their support because it will help Americans who live in rural areas access care.

“Despite the overwhelming support this legislation has received and despite a strong mandate from the public for action, the Republicans have held tight to their just-say-no approach, firmly rooting the GOP on the side of the insurance lobby and the status quo that is breaking American families and small businesses.  It is evident from their obstructionism that the Republicans are more interested in protecting their own reputations and political fortunes than ensuring that our generation and generations to come have the best possible access to health care.  Unfortunately for the Republican Party, their misguided and shameful campaign to kill health reform looks doomed to fail –  something all Americans should be thankful for. 

“Today, Congressional Democrats put opponents of reform on notice: the status quo is unsustainable and inaction is not an option. This vote doesn’t mark the end of this process – we still have a ways to go – but it is a critical milestone on the road to passing health insurance reform.  The American people want reform – they need reform – and Democrats will not rest until we pass comprehensive health reform legislation.”