Concord -- New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley issued the following statement on the historic vote in the House to pass comprehensive health insurance reform:
"The House passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act brings our country another step closer to guaranteeing comprehensive health care for all Americans. This legislation reins in the insurance companies' worst practices while extending coverage to 36 million Americans and cutting the deficit by more than $100 billion in ten years.
"In the Granite State alone, more than 140,000 people are uninsured, and the number grows daily as rising premium costs make it more difficult for middle class families to afford quality health insurance. Earlier this year, WellPoint Insurance announced that premiums for New Hampshire residents would increase 12 to 13%.
"This landmark reform could not have been possible without the hard work of New Hampshire's Democratic congressional delegation - Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congressman Paul Hodes, and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.
"Specifically, the legislation includes four key cost savings provisions that Senator Shaheen authored, including measures that will help Americans access more affordable prescription drugs, prevent costly hospital re-admissions, improve the coordination of care, and protect access to comparative effectiveness research so that patients and doctors can make more informed decisions.
"The bill also includes provisions that prevent insurance companies from cutting important coverage for women. Congressman Hodes refused to stop fighting until mammograms, mastectomy stay coverage, direct access to OB/GYNs, and maternity care coverage could not be cut from the plans currently held by 80% of New Hampshire's insured women.
"And thanks to the effort led by Congresswoman Shea-Porter, the Affordable Health Care for America Act will fully close the Medicare 'donut hole.' Eliminating this coverage gap is long overdue, and will alleviate the financial burden placed on thousands of senior citizens in the Granite State, many of whom are on a fixed income and rely on their Medicare coverage to survive."