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Sen. Begich Statement on President’s Signing of Health Care Bill + Details of Bill


March 23, 2010 -- U.S. Sen. Mark Begich released the following statement after President Obama signed the historic health insurance reform bill:

"I was proud on Christmas Eve to cast my vote in favor of this historic legislation, which will save lives, save money and save Medicare.  I am on the side of Alaska families, not on the side of the insurance industry.  I am on the side of seniors who will see lower prescription drug prices, not on the side of the big drug companies.  I am proud to be on the side of Alaska's small business, not on the side of business as usual.

"The House on Sunday night passed the comprehensive Senate health insurance reform bill I voted for in December as part of a supermajority of 60 senators.  House members also sent the Senate separate legislation strengthening health insurance reform. This legislation will allow an up or down vote to remove the special deals Alaskans have expressed concerns about. We will take up the bill today, and expect to pass it by the end of the week.

"The process has been very transparent. The bills were debated in hearings and televised sessions of Congress for months. The Senate spent 25 consecutive days in session on health reform - the second longest session in history - for a total of 160 hours on the floor. In addition, despite complaints about lack of involvement from the other side of the aisle, the truth is the final Senate bill includes 147 minority party amendments.  The President also hosted a bipartisan health care summit, which I was pleased to see televised.

"Alaskans will see many immediate benefits from reform:

·         Help for small business: Immediately, small businesses with fewer than 10 workers get a tax credit worth 35 percent of what they spend now on health insurance. It will eventually ramp up to a 50 percent tax credit, and firms with up to 25 workers will get a partial credit.

·         Coverage for preexisting conditions: Within three months, people with preexisting conditions who have had their insurance taken away will get help through a $5 billion fund to provide affordable coverage. Within six months insurance companies will no longer be able to deny children with illnesses. As the law ramps up eventually no American will be denied because of a preexisting condition.

·         Coverage for dependent children: Within six months, parents' health insurance will cover their dependent children up to age 26.

·         Free preventive care: Within six months, all insurance plans must provide free checkups - this includes seniors on Medicare.   

"Alaskans have been told the sky will fall if health reform passes, but that's just not true. The Senate bill contains the toughest insurance reforms in history.  It creates a health insurance pool so people can get more affordable coverage.  Americans who have insurance now get the peace of mind of knowing they won't lose it if they get sick or change jobs.  Reform ends the status quo of families going broke because of unpaid medical bills.

"The health reform bill is fully paid for. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says it will reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion in the first 10 years and up to $1.3 trillion in the second decade."

Senate Health Care Bill
  • Side By Side Analysis of Senate and House Health Care Bills - This document provides a 'Side by Side' analysis of the content and provisions of health care reform legislation that has passed the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. The analysis was published in January by the independent non-partisan Kaiser Foundation. 100106 Kaiser SenHouSidebySide.pdf (876.1 KBs)
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: H.R. 3590 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed the senate, with a supermajority of 60 votes, on Dec. 24, 2010. This is the full text of the legislation. HR 3590 FINAL 111th Congress.pdf (3.7 MBs)
  • President's Health Reform Proposal - Following a bipartisan health reform summit hosted at the White House, the President proposed changes to current health care legislation. This document, released on Feb. 22, 2010, summarizes the President's proposal. 100222 PresidentHealthReformProposal.pdf (89.3 KBs)
  • Congressional Budget Office Analysis of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - The independent and nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reviews the cost of proposed legislation. Attached is the CBO's analysis of the Senate Health Reform Legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: H.R. 3590 Substitute. 09118 CBO HC Letter.pdf (1.4 MBs)
The Cost of Health Care in Alaska
  • Health Reform Facts: Two Page Summary - Prepared by Sen. Begich's office. This is a two page summary of what is in - and not in - the pending senate health care legislation. 100210 Health Reform Facts.pdf (70.1 KBs)
  • Alaska Health Reform by the Numbers: One Page Summary - Prepared by Sen. Begich's office. This is a one page summary of the benefits of health care reform in Alaska. 20091218-HealthReformFactSheet.pdf (129.5 KBs)
  • Immediate Benefits of Health Reform: Two Page Summary - Prepared by Sen. Begich's office. This is a two page summary of the immediate benefits of the Senate's pending health care reform legislation. 091218-HealthReformImmediateBenefits.pdf (89.6 KBs)
  • Summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Senate Health Care Reform Legislation - A summary of the "10 Things to Know About the Legislation." 20091120-PatientProtectionAffordableCareAct-Final.pdf (111.2 KBs)
  • Kodiak Health Care Town Hall: Reform Will Help Individuals, Families and Businesses - Delivered through video conference to the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce on October 5, 2009, this slide show details how health care reform will help individuals and communities. 20090930-KodiakHealthCareTownHall.pptx (520.1 KBs)
  • The Case for Health Insurance Reform in Alaska - 2009_08_06-TheCaseforHealthReform.pdf (80.8 KBs)
  • Speech to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce: August 10, 2009 - On August 10, 2009, I delivered this speech to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, which stressed the need for national health care reform. 090810 Anchorage Chamber Health Care Speech.pdf (154.6 KBs)
  • Speech to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce PowerPoint: August 10, 2009 - On August 10, 2009, I presented this PowerPoint presentation to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. It makes the case for national health care reform and was accompanied by a one page handout. 090810 Anchorage Chamber Health Care PowerPoint.pdf (1.1 MBs)
Health Care Links Health Care Reform for Alaska: Quality, Affordable Healthcare For All Alaskans I am committed to ensuring quality, affordable health care for all Alaskans. The time to act is now, and we will not allow opponents of reform and the special interests who back them to delay the health reform we all deserve.

Preserve Doctor-Patient Privacy A patient's relationship with their doctor is a personal one, and no one should interfere with that relationship. I will work to ensure that health reform preserves the private patient-doctor relationship, keeping both insurance companies and the government out of the doctor's office.

Choices for All Americans I believe health reform should ensure that Americans have choices, including the choice to keep what they currently have. Americans should be able to choose their doctors, hospitals, and coverage, and be in control of their health care.

Address The Workforce Shortage Address the workforce shortage. We need more doctors but there also must be an expanded role for providers such as physician assistants, advanced nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, dental health aides and other professionals. In Alaska we should increase the number of state-subsidized medical school seats and residency positions, and create a strong loan repayment program.

Strengthen The Indian Health Service And Reduce Health Disparities Strengthen the Indian Health Service and reduce health disparities. The President's FY2010 budget makes a good start with a proposed increase of $454 million for IHS. This funding will support tribes as they work to administer programs at the local level and, when needed, pay for needed care outside the IHS system.

Improve Veterans' Access To Care Improve veterans' access to care. An increasing number of veterans have serious service-connected injuries. I believe they should be able to go to any nearby health provider without preauthorization and be covered by the Veterans Administration. This is particularly important to veterans who live in rural areas and are often quite far from VA hospitals or clinics.

Protect and Strengthen Small Businesses Protect and strengthen small business because new jobs from small private-sector employers have long been the engine of economic growth, and will drive recovery now. To keep the costs of health reform from falling disproportionately onto the smallest employers we must provide tax credits or subsidies for those covering their workers.

Support Prevention and Wellness Include a well-funded commitment to prevention and wellness. Significant cost savings and increased worker productivity will come from disease prevention and health promotion efforts.

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