Washington, DC— Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the first jobs bill of the 112th Congress and health care reform. Below are his remarks as prepared:
“A lot of people are talking this morning about the opinion a judge in Florida wrote about the health reform law.
“I want to talk briefly about the law, and then about the effort to take away the rights in it.
“The health reform law is already saving lives and saving money.
“It’s saving lives because children are not getting their insurance taken away, as happened before we passed this law. They can stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26. And even younger kids can’t get kicked off their plans because they have a pre-existing condition like asthma or diabetes.
“Older Americans are healthier because they can get free wellness checks, and because we’re starting to close the coverage gap in Medicare – which means they can finally afford the prescription drugs they had to skip or split before we passed this law.
“Second, it’s saving money. Last week we saw just how much this law is helping cut down on fraud in the health insurance industry. We’ve recovered $4 billion so far, and this law will keep cracking down on those who try to take advantage of the vulnerable.
“And as small businesses in Nevada and across the country have discovered, we’re cutting taxes for businesses that give their employees health care.
“These consequences of the health reform law – saving lives, saving money and saving Medicare, as we promised – are just the tip of the iceberg. As more parts of the law go into effect, it will do even more good. Even more lives and more money will be saved.
“It’s important to remember this context as we talk about the opinion handed down yesterday in Florida.
“Lawsuits and lawmakers’ efforts to repeal this bill are nothing more than an attempt to raise taxes on small businesses, add a trillion dollars to the deficit, force seniors to pay more for their prescriptions, and let insurance companies once again stand in the way of a child and the medical care he or she needs.
“Health reform is complex, but this debate is a simple one: We put patients in control of their health care. Repeal would put insurance companies back in charge. We can’t afford it – not with our wallets, and certainly not with our lives.
“While some focus on the past, we’re looking to the future. Democrats are working to create jobs and strengthen the middle class.
“We’re starting today with the first jobs bill of the new 112th Congress. This bill, which will modernize America’s air travel, creates and protects more than 280,000 jobs. We’re improving the infrastructure and reducing costly passenger delays. We’re giving passengers their own bill of rights.
“This is the kind of common-sense solution that creates jobs while making our economy more efficient and America more competitive. This is a bipartisan bill.
“Let’s stop re-fighting yesterday’s fights, and start strengthening our future. Democrats are ready to get to work to get the American people back to work. I hope our Republican colleagues will join us starting with the jobs bill on the floor today.”