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Issue Position: Health Care

Issue Position

Date: Aug. 27, 2010

Congressman Gonzales is proud to have been a part of crafting the House of Representatives' proposal for health care reform and then working with the Senate, the White House, and the American people to put forth final legislation that President Obama signed into law.

Gonzalez worked tirelessly for over a year on the historic health care reform package that will help all Americans be Healthier. He saw the reform of our health care system as a moral and an economic imperative. He could not ignore the fact that Texas has the highest rates of uninsured adults and children in the country and that most uninsured individuals are in working families.

The law builds upon our employer-based system of care, making health care more affordable and more accessible to Americans. Gonzalez is proud to have voted for it because the people he represents will benefit a great deal from the legislation.

* Medicare benefits will be improved for the 89,000 beneficiaries in the 20th Congressional District who receive this coverage and the solvency of Medicare will be increased by 12 years due to improved efficiencies and reduced abuse and fraud.
* The 300,000 residents he represents with health insurance coverage will see their benefits improve.
* 141,000 People he represents who are uninsured will receive coverage.
* 12,700 small businesses in the 20th Congressional District will be able to get assistance in providing benefits to their employees.
* Local health care providers treat huge numbers of uninsured people everyday. This law will reduce the cost of uncompensated in this area by $191 million a year.

The benefits of this legislation are already being seen. Already, small businesses can receive a tax credit of up to 35% of the cost of providing health care for their employees. This summer, seniors who hit the Medicare Part D donut hole (wherein they do not have coverage for their prescription drugs) began to be sent a $250 rebate to help defray those increased costs. In 2009, 237,000 seniors in Texas fell into this gap. The law closes that donut hole by 2020. Also, individuals who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition may qualify to receive coverage through the newly established, temporary high-risk insurance program.

The law makes significant insurance reforms, most of which will be implemented in September 2010. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to a child with a pre-existing condition. Parents will be allowed to keep their kids on their insurance policy until their 26th birthday. Insurers will be prohibited from rescinding coverage -- ending coverage when someone gets sick. They will no longer be able to impose lifetime limits on coverage.

The recently enacted law put Americans and small business owners in control of their own health care, not the insurance companies. It lowers costs for middle class Americans and small businesses and hold insurance companies accountable, all while creating up to four million jobs and reducing the deficit.