Washington, DC— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered the following remarks this morning on the Senate floor to discuss The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was introduced last night. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“We have traveled a great distance to get to where we stand today. With the bill we unveiled last night, we begin the last leg of this historic journey.
“The American people and President Obama have asked us for a health insurance reform plan that does two things above all else:
- One, make it more affordable for every American to live a healthy life.
- And two, do so in a fiscally responsible way that helps our economy recover.
“Well, Senate Democrats have listened, and we have written a bill that will save lives, save money, and save Medicare.
“Since yesterday evening the bill has been on the Internet for all to see. You can find it at democrats.senate.gov. But here’s a quick summary:
“As the President asked us to do, we will not add a dime to the deficit – quite the opposite, in fact: We will cut it by $130 billion in the first 10 years and by as much as three-quarters of a trillion dollars in the first 20.
“We do this by keeping costs down. This critical reform will cost less than $85 billion a year over the next decade – well under President Obama’s goal.
“We will make sure nearly every American can afford quality health care. We will make sure more than 30 million Americans who do not have health care today will have it soon.
“And we will not only protect Medicare, we will make it stronger.
“These numbers are as impressive as they are important to our nation’s future.
“And though we are proud of these figures, we can’t afford to overlook what this is really about. More accurately, we can’t afford to overlook who this is really about.
“This is about the parent who cannot take a child to the doctor because insurance is too expensive. That’s why we’re making sure every American can afford good coverage.
“This is about the small business in Nevada that had to lay off employees because it couldn’t afford skyrocketing health care premiums. That’s why we’re cutting those small businesses’ taxes.
“This is about the woman with high cholesterol, or the man with heart disease, or the child with hay fever who can’t get help. That’s why we’re stopping insurance companies from deciding they’d simply rather not give health care to the sick.
“This is about the family who has to make the terrible choice between its mortgage and its medications. When this bill passes, the only choice they’ll have to make is which insurance policy offers them the best coverage.
“This is also about our mothers and sisters and wives and daughters who can’t get the proper testing they need to detect breast cancer. It’s inexcusable that women should have to wait to get the screenings they need. That’s why we’re making prevention and wellness a priority.
“For these families and these businesses – for our economy’s renewal, our children’s future and our nation’s promise – the finish line is finally in sight. I’m confident we’ll cross it soon. And I once again invite my Republican colleagues to join us on the right side of history.”