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Loebsack: House health-care reform bill a win for Iowans — youth included

BY DAVE LOEBSACK - GUEST OPINION | DECEMBER 17, 2009 7:30 AM

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Many young people attended my health-care town-hall meeting in August. I thank all of you for taking an active role in civic engagement at a young age. During my town hall, I spoke with you about the need for reform, and many of you agreed. The current health-care system is unsustainable and unacceptable. However, many of you had concerns with the House proposals for reform. I, along with many of my colleagues, took your questions and comments back to Congress, and we strengthened the health-care bill.

From creating historic, fundamental change in the way Medicare pays hospitals and providers so that states such as Iowa are rewarded for their excellence to making sure that we are helping our young people to implementing common-sense, practical solutions to help small businesses, we have put together a bill that works for Iowans.

For decades, because of the nature of the Medicare-payment system, Iowa has been getting a raw deal. In the health-care bill that was passed on the House floor, the agreement to address this issue is included. Because of this agreement, the rest of the country will follow Iowa’s model of high-quality, low-cost care.

Many of you at my town halls wondered what was in the health-care bill for you. More than a quarter of those ages 19-34 were uninsured in 2007, according to a study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Young people are also less likely to be offered coverage through their jobs and are less likely to be able to afford care.

With the health-care bill, you will be allowed to stay on your parent’s health-care plans until your 27th birthday. Additionally, the bill will set up a health-care exchange that will offer coverage to those without job-based coverage and provide premium assistance to those who still can’t afford health insurance. All of these measures will work to help young people attain quality, affordable, and stable health insurance.

A number of you were worried about the effects of health-care reform on businesses. As many of you are graduating and preparing to graduate, you have concerns about the economy and the current state of the job market.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of Iowa’s economy. In order to help Iowa’s economic development, we strengthened the original proposal to ensure no small businesses were being forced to make choices that could hurt their businesses. Now, more small businesses will be able to enter the exchange and, because of the collective bargaining power of those in the exchange, small-business owners and employees will have more choices and lower costs.

All of you worried about debt being passed on to young people, and I agreed with you. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated it will actually reduce the deficit.

We started with a good proposal and built on it, so that Iowans will have stable, affordable, and accessible health care. As the process continues on through the Senate, things will continue to change, evolve and improve. Thank you for your help, and I look forward to more discussions with Iowa’s bright young students.

Rep. Dave Loebsack, a Democrat, represents Iowa’s 2nd District, which includes Iowa City.


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