Washington, DC— Democratic Senators Patty Murray, Ben Cardin, Amy Klobuchar, Kay Hagan, Ted Kaufman and Paul Kirk joined Cynthia and Eric Cathcart of Silver Spring, Maryland at a press conference today to discuss the need for action on health care reform and the devastating impact that health care costs are having on middle class families across America. The current health care system is failing the middle class. Unbridled costs and out-of-pocket expenses are putting more families on the path to bankruptcy every day, and too many Americans live in fear of being dropped from their coverage when they need it most because of a pre-existing condition. Democrats are committed to passing meaningful health care reform that brings down costs while providing stability and security for the American middle class.
“Between 2000 and 2007, family health coverage rose over 86% – an increase of over $5,600 in Washington state. During the same period wages grew only 16%,” said Murray. “Middle class families are already struggling in the toughest economic climate since the Great Depression and they simply can’t afford these kinds of cost increases. It is for these families- middle class, working families- that we need health insurance reform.”
Cardin said: “For middle-class families, the status quo – inaction – is not acceptable. We need choice and competition to rein in out-of-control health care costs and protect Americans from the abusive practices of health insurance companies. Comprehensive health care reform is directly connected to our efforts to save jobs and grow our economy. Health care is draining family budgets and our national treasury. Congress needs to act now to ensure quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”
“Heath care reform will offer a promise of stability to the middle class,” said Klobuchar. “We want to give families the peace of mind to know that their coverage won’t be taken away.”
Hagan said: “When I was in Western North Carolina this past weekend, I heard from health care professionals that the average cost of an emergency room visit in Hendersonville is $389. For less than the cost of one visit to the ER, the Blue Ridge Community Health Center could instead provide health care to an individual for an entire year. The Senate is working hard on a health care reform bill that will ensure middle class families in North Carolina and across America have access to affordable, quality care so families no longer have to turn to the emergency room for their basic health needs.”
“In Delaware and across the country, health care costs for middle class Americans are out of control,” said Kaufman. “Today, skyrocketing costs and out-of-pocket medical expenses are already to blame for more than 60 percent of personal bankruptcies. With more and more Americans losing their jobs — and with it their health insurance — we must reform the system to provide everyone access to affordable medical care. The status quo can no longer be tolerated. We must come together and pass meaningful health care reform to reduce the costs for middle class Americans.”
Kirk said: “With average family premiums on track to double in the next decade, the cost of inaction is simply too great to ignore. If we do nothing more Americans will lose their insurance, working families will continue to fear the insecurity of the current system, and our nation will continue to spend more for health care, but get less. It is my hope that in the coming weeks my Senate colleagues will put aside partisan gamesmanship and concentrate on serious reforms that make quality, affordable health care a right for every American.”
“Our Founding Fathers risked it all,” said Cynthia and Eric Cathcart. “Our ancestors who came to this country risked it all. Those of us who are entrepreneurs risk it all. This is the time. This has to happen, we cannot afford to risk it all if we wait another two years. We need to pass health care reform now.”