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Pelosi: Health Reform Will Provide Seniors Better Benefits, Guaranteed Access to Doctors, Extended Stability for Medicare

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairman John Dingell, and Congressman Martin Heinrich joined advocates on behalf of America's seniors for a press conference this afternoon in the Capitol to discuss the benefits of the health insurance reform legislation to senior citizens. Below are the Speaker's opening and closing remarks:

Speaker Pelosi Opening Remarks:

"Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here. It is a very exciting time for us as we are coming down to the final days of deliberation over our health care reform to lower cost, improve quality, extend coverage and to retain choice - if you like what you have you can keep it. But in order to do that, we have to make it secure and cost less. The same holds true for Medicare.

"What an honor it is for me to be here with Chairman Dingell, who when he was a relatively new Member of Congress, a junior Member of Congress, and gaveled the vote on Medicare, passing it 44 years ago. It is pretty exciting. And so we stand here with Mr. Dingell, who presided over that session of Congress now as the Dean of the Congress and the House of Representatives. And with Martin Heinrich from New Mexico, who is a Member of the freshman class and couple of generations of Members in between. We all stand united to preserve Medicare, to make it solvent for many years to come.

"Medicare is our solemn pledge, a pledge of stability for our seniors. They have paid into the system, and we want them to get everything they deserve out of it. What we are promising with our new legislation is the following: better benefits, closing the donut hole and lowering drug costs, ensuring free preventive care and better primary care.

"Number one: better benefits. Two: guaranteed access to your doctors for our seniors and eliminating the 21 percent pay cut your doctor was facing from Medicare reimbursement, ensuring that these doctors will be able to care for our seniors, especially in rural areas. Third: better financial stability of Medicare, extending the solvency of Medicare's trust fund for five years. We will cut waste, fraud and abuse of Medicare and reinvest those savings in benefits improvement, focusing health care dollars on care and benefits instead of overpayment in private insurance companies.

"I have the privilege now of acknowledging the presence of former Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly, who is here with a coalition of organizations representing millions of older Americans. Americans who are committed to stable, affordable, quality health insurance and all of the reforms embodied in our bill. As we prepare the version of our bill that we will put on the Internet for review and for possible amendment, we are very pleased to have the support of those who have the interests of our seniors first and foremost at heart.

"Congresswoman Kennelly."

Speaker Pelosi Closing Statement:

"Clearly there is a long tradition of enthusiasm for health insurance reform in our country and a strong commitment to Medicare. No one could say it better. How proud we also are of Martin Heinrich since he came to the Congress as a champion of health care reform and a champion for seniors in his district and across the country. We are proud of our most senior Member of the House and a Member of the newest class of Members of Congress. I want to say thank you to Barbara Kennelly and to Gerry Johnston for sharing their views with us.

"Again remember - better benefits, guaranteed access to your doctor, and extended stability for Medicare. Medicare Part D has a donut - we do not want that anymore. We are closing the donut hole, and that is a distinct difference between our proposal and what else you may see coming down the pike. I want to remind you that we are in this situation with the donut hole because of the Medicare so-called reform that was passed several years ago, which really was an attempt to undermine Medicare and to bring less stability to it. That is all different now with this legislation.

"So we are talking to our seniors, to women, to students, to small businesses, to any demographic that is interested in how this bill makes health care better for them and health insurance more affordable.

"With that, my colleagues, we will be willing to take any questions you may have."

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House
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