Washington, DC— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement this morning on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“As the debate escalates over the best way to ease the crushing burden of health care, it is easy to become sidetracked by misrepresentations, distracted by minor details or tempted to point fingers.
“When we do those things, we lose sight of what is at the heart of this effort, this debate and this reform.
“I wanted to take a moment at the end of this week to remind all of us what this is all about. Hardworking Americans are too often the casualties of our broken health care system – they deserve better than to also be the casualties of misleading politics.
“To the millions of Americans without health care, this is a concrete and critical crisis that affects children, families and small businesses every single day.
“It is about the parent who cannot take a child to the doctor because insurance is prohibitively expensive.
“It is about the family that lives one accident or one illness away from financial ruin.
“It is about the small business that had to lay off employees because it couldn’t afford skyrocketing health care premiums.
“It is about the three in five families who put off necessary medical care because it simply costs too much.
“We are committed to:
- Lowering the high costs of health care;
- Ensuring every American has access to that quality, affordable care; and
- Letting people choose their own doctors, hospitals and health plans.
“We are committed to protecting existing coverage when it is good, improving it when it is not, and guaranteeing health care for the millions – including nine million children – who have none.
“We are committed to preventing disease, reducing health disparities, and encouraging early detection and effective treatments that save lives.
“No matter what Republicans claim, the government has no intention of choosing for you any part of your medical plan – or meddling in any of your medical relationships.
“If you like the coverage you have, you can choose to keep it.
“Health care in not a luxury. We cannot afford another year in which almost 50 million of us have to choose between basic necessities and lining the pockets of big insurance companies just to stay healthy.
“I hear every day from Nevadans who are asking for our help:
- People turned down for health coverage by insurance providers who care more about profits than people.
- People who lost their health coverage when they lost their jobs and now have no means of getting it back.
- People who play by the rules and rightly demand our health care system is guided by common sense.
“That’s what this is about. Nothing more, nothing less. These people – and nothing else – should be the focus of the open and honest debate they deserve.”