Sunday night the most comprehensive reform of our health care system in more than 4 decades passed the House of Representatives. The measure passed 219 to 212. In televised remarks after the vote President Barack Obama praised the work of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Rep. Hoyer, Vice President Biden, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the dozens of Administration and House staffers who worked tirelessly for its passage.
“We proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things,”Â President ObamaÂ said in televised remarks. “We proved that this government â€” a government of the people and by the people â€” still works for the people.”
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) issued the following statement regarding her historic vote in support of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010:
â€œThis was probably the most difficult vote Iâ€™ve cast during my time in Congress. After decades of failed attempts at reform, this Congress was given an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally fix our broken health care system. And just like any once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there was a lot of pressure to deliver a perfect bill, one that would be cost-effective and deficit-neutral while increasing health care quality and decreasing the number of uninsured.
â€œOver the last few weeks, it has become clear that this bill is far from perfect. It does not provide a public option, which I believe is critical to achieving necessary and genuine reform. And it doesnâ€™t adequately reimburse California hospitals for the cost of providing care to Medicare patients. So I had a choice: stand up for my ideal vision of health care and vote against this legislation, or accept a less-than-perfect bill because it is an important step toward improving our health care system from the unsustainable status quo. It is for this reason that I deliberated long and hard before casting my vote.
â€œEveryone knows the purely rational reasons why we need reform. Rising costs are hurting our families, burdening small businesses, and making us less competitive in a global economy. But it was hearing the personal stories from people in my district that ultimately convinced me to support this bill. In my fourteen years in Congress, I have never seen my constituents reach out so intently and so persistently in support of a particular piece of legislation.
â€œThey called me with stories of children who died waiting for transplants and grandparents who couldnâ€™t afford to pay for their medication. They wrote letters about pregnant mothers who couldnâ€™t provide their babies with basic prenatal care and fathers who lost health insurance for their families when they lost their job. Just as touching were the calls from constituents who do have health coverage but were concerned for their neighbors who were not as fortunate. These were the people I had in mind when I cast my vote for this bill. Tonight, I stand by their stories and my decision. We cannot become complacent with our success, which is why moving forward, I will continue to support efforts to improve health care quality and access for families in my district and across the country.â€