Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
Last night Congressman Jim McGovern addressed the House on the importance of passing the Healthcare reform bill. Here’s a transcript of his speech in full (after the jump):
I thank the distinguished Chairwoman of the Rules Committee for yielding me the time.
M. Speaker, this is a historic day for all of us in the House.
We have the opportunity to enact real, meaningful health insurance reform that will improve the lives of millions of our fellow citizens.
We can end the most abusive practices of the insurance companies. We can provide coverage to millions of hard-working families. We can bring down the costs of health care for families and small businesses. We can close the doughnut hole in Medicare and extend the solvency of that vital program. And we can pass the biggest deficit reduction package in 25 years.
All we need is the courage to do what’s right.
Today is especially meaningful for those of us from Massachusetts. As we all know, 7 months ago our friend and mentor Ted Kennedy lost his battle with brain cancer. When he passed away, I said that while no one could ever fill his shoes, we can and we must follow in his footsteps.
And that is exactly what we are doing today.
We have already taken important steps in Massachusetts to deal with the health care issue. I am proud to say that according to census data, the 3rd Congressional District that I am honored to represent has the highest rate of coverage – over 97% — of any district in the country.
And people back home often ask me: “Why do we need to pass a federal bill when we already have insurance here in our state?”
So I’d like to talk for just a moment about what the reform before us today will mean for Massachusetts.
75,000 additional middle class people will receive help to pay for their premiums.
Nearly 180,000 of our seniors will receive a 50% discount on their prescription drugs.
70,000 small businesses – the innovators and job creators – will receive a credit to help cover the cost of insuring their workers.
Our community health centers, our hospitals, our medical research centers – all will receive support to continue their great work.
And we will no longer be forced to subsidize – through higher premiums and higher Medicare and Medicaid costs – the uncompensated care of people in other states who don’t have health insurance.
If we want to create jobs – and we all do – then passing this bill is absolutely essential. A few weeks ago I talked to a small business owner in my district. Business has picked up lately, and he wanted to hire another employee. Then he got his health insurance bill, and realized he couldn’t afford it. He’ll just have to work harder, and spend less time with his family.
That’s who this debate is all about. That’s why today is so important.
Senator Kennedy said that providing access to health care is a QUOTE “fundamental principle of justice and the character of our country.”
As usual, he was right. And today, in this House, the work goes on and the cause endures.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.