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Representative Tammy Baldwin reflects on passage of health care reform bill

Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (representing Wisconsin’s 2nd District, including Madison) voted with the majority March 21st to pass historic health care reform legislation.

Baldwin, who has been an open advocate of a single payer system of health care, released this statement the day of the vote:

I have worked my entire career to achieve health care for all.

As I looked across the well of the House, I saw so many of my colleagues tearing up because, like me, they sensed the moment and the history of this vote. I was also remembering the faces of people who have come up to me, often also in tears, and confided in me about their own experiences in our broken health care system – families who lost their homes because of medical bills; a mom who couldn’t get health care for her daughter because of a pre-existing condition.

I thought about all those faces and that tonight, with this vote, we have finally stepped forward and responded to these pleas for help.

There is no doubt that this debate has been sullied with politics and vitriol; but nothing can sully the pride I feel today in taking this critical step in providing health care coverage for all Americans.”

Baldwin sees the bill, which was signed into law today by President Barack Obama, as having direct benefits for Wisconsin. “Wherever I go, and in emails, phone calls, letters, and faxes, you tell me that health care is your number one concern and I’ve heard you loud and clear,” Baldwin had said last week in a press release.

Baldwin listed these specific ways in which she believes the new law will benefit people in her district:

  • 539,000 people in South Central Wisconsin will see improvements in their current health care coverage;
  • 7,400 with pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain coverage;
  • Up to 162,000 families will get tax credits and other assistance to help make health insurance more affordable;
  • Up to 16,800 small businesses will get tax credits and other assistance to help make health insurance more affordable for their employees;
  • 97,000 Medicare beneficiaries will see better care and pay less for prescription drugs because the Medicare Part D donut hole will be closed;
  • 68,000 young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy until their 26th birthday;
  • 13,500 uninsured people will have access to health care coverage;
  • 1,100 families won’t have to file for bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs;
  • 6 community health centers in South Central Wisconsin will receive millions of dollars in new funding to care for thousands of new patients.

“This plan is not perfect...none is,” Baldwin said, “but thousands of Wisconsinites will see enormous benefits from health care reform now...”

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