Why We Need Health Care Reform

Health care reform is a moral and economic necessity.  The status quo is unsustainable: there are nearly 50 million uninsured Americans, and around 25 million more are underinsured, meaning the health insurance they have is insufficient to cover  their health care costs.  In the last two years, 27.3% of Pennsylvanians went without health insurance for a period of time, and 11.3% of Pennsylvanians  were uninsured for an entire year.

Health insurance premiums are rising faster than wages, and the cost of inaction is high.  In 2009, the Pennsylvania economy will lose between $3.4 billion and $6.9 billion due to the shorter lives and poorer health of the uninsured.  The New America Foundation estimates that by 2016, the cost of insurance for the average Pennsylvania family will be $26,679, or 52% of the median family income.  I don't know many families that could afford to spend 52% of their income on health insurance.

One of the frequent comments I hear from my constituents is, "I don't want to pay for other people's health care."  The problem is that we already are.  The average Pennsylvania family pays an extra $900 per year in health insurance premiums to cover the cost of uncompensated care provided to individuals who can't afford health insurance.  Nationally, the average is over $1,100 (Center for American Progress).  Health insurance reform will ensure all Americans have access to high quality, affordable health insurance and health care.

The health insurance reform legislation being debated by Congress will continue to ensure that individuals are able to choose their own doctors and make the choices that are right for them and their families.  The millions of Americans who have health insurance and are happy with it will be able to maintain their current coverage, but for the millions who don't have coverage, health care reform will provide new choices.  Health care reform will also provide stability: if you lose or change your job, you will still be able to purchase affordable health insurance.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Affordable Health Choices Act will cost $611 billion over the next ten years.  Our current system is not sustainable and waiting to act or doing nothing will only make the problems worse.  If we do not act, more people will lose coverage: between January  2008 and December 2010, 178,520 individuals in Pennsylvania are projected to lose coverage.  As costs increase, the quality of care will diminish and the ballooning costs incurred by the government and business will endanger America's fiscal health.  The Affordable Health Choices Act will reduce costs by emphasizing prevention, cutting waste and modernizing the health care system through quality information technology.

I will continue updating this blog to share more of my thoughts on the important work we're doing to reform America's health care system.  Click here to read the full bill text of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act.

Click here to read the summary of the House legislation, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, or here to read the full bill text.

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Health Care
Pennsylvania

Health Care Reform Discussions in Lock Haven and Johnstown

On Thursday, I held two public forums, the first in Lock Haven and the second in Johnstown, on health care reform and the Affordable Health Choices Act, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee bill.  It was great to hear constituents' perspectives on health care reform, and I was also glad to continue to share my thoughts with Pennsylvanians.

As I travel around Pennsylvania and read letters sent to my office, I hear more and more stories about the problems people are having losing their health care coverage or being denied care by their insurance companies. This is why one of my top priorities this year has been helping to draft health care reform legislation to increase stability and security for Pennsylvania families.

I encourage you to use this blog and the rest of my website as a resource in the days and weeks ahead.  As we continue discussing health care reform, I will be adding information on the legislative proposals under discussion to the Health Care section of the website.  I will also be blogging to share more with you about my work on health care reform.

Senator Casey Answers Questions on Health Care Reform in Lock Haven

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Forums
Health Care
Pennsylvania

Conversation on Health Care Reform

Yesterday evening I hosted a conference call forum with over 11,000 constituents on health care reform and was pleased to discuss this critical issue with so many Pennsylvanians.  I answered questions on a wide variety of topics, including the public option, controlling costs, how reform will help small businesses and how health insurance reform will help individuals with pre-existing conditions.  Your comments and questions are invaluable to me as I continue to push for health care reform that will provide stable costs, secure choices and quality care for all Americans.  For more information about health care reform, please keep checking my website.  We will be updating it frequently with information about the legislation the Senate is considering and with details of future events I will be hosting or attending to discuss health care reform.

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Forums
Health Care
Pennsylvania

Keep Harley-Davidson in York - Save Our Plant

Harley’s roots in York run deep. For over thirty years, York, Pennsylvania has helped to build Harley-Davidson – not only the motorcycles, but the company itself.

Please join me in signing the petition to support keeping Harley-Davidson in York.

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Harley
York

Health Care Reform: The Time Is Now

Congress has been hard at work in recent months debating health care reform.  The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), of which I am a member, successfully reported out our bill, the Affordable Health Choices Act, on July 14.  At its core, this landmark bill will stabilize health care costs, provide secure choices for American families, and ensure quality care for all Americans, while maintaining health insurance options that currently exist and that individuals may wish to keep.  My colleagues in the House of Representatives have also been at work drafting health care reform legislation, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

Click here to read the summary of HELP Committee legislation, the Affordable Health Choices Act. You can also read the full bill text as it was originally filed and the Chairman’s mark of the coverage section.

Click here to read the summary of the House legislation, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, or here to read the full bill text.

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Health Care
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