WASHINGTON, .March 21 Health care reform is on its way and here to stay - but the work toward building a health care system that serves the people instead of the special interests has just begun, USAction said Sunday.
USAction Executive Director Jeff Blum praised the House for what he called a "courageous, history-making vote that will make Americans stronger and more secure."
"This is a small step for today and a giant step for tomorrow," Blum said. "But make no mistake: special interests and opponents of reform will be organizing from day one to repeal this bill and take away our access to affordable health care. Our job is to stand our ground and not let that happen."
Blum said consumers will realize some of the benefits of health care reform almost immediately, such as stopping insurance companies from cancelling coverage retroactively when a person gets sick, and putting lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits.
Other short- and long-term benefits of health care reform include reducing drug costs for seniors, saving money for small business owners, preventing insurance companies from denying care based on pre-existing conditions, lowering the growth trajectory of health insurance costs and expanding coverage for uninsured people.
"With this historic vote for health care reform, Americans will live longer, health care will be more affordable and we all will enjoy a higher quality of life," said USAction President William McNary, who has worked in the trenches for health care reform for decades and helped lead the 1993-94 effort. "This is a victory of people over profits, hope over fear and change over the status quo."
NOTE TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA: USAction affiliates and partners in more than two dozen states will engage in "thank you" events at home beginning Monday. Affiliates and partners will be holding various activities to thank members who voted in favor of health care reform. For a complete list of events, please contact David Elliot at 202-607-7036 or [email protected]
In 2008, USAction co-founded Health Care for America Now, the nation's largest health care reform campaign with more than 1,100 coalition partners. In 2009, USAction affiliates and partners, with the help of their state HCAN coalitions, generated nearly half a million grassroots contacts to Congress, organized or supported 480 town hall meetings and forums and turned out 70,997 supporters to 1,785 Congressional outreach activities, including town halls, lobby visits, grassroots call-in days, petition deliveries, press conferences and letter-writing campaigns.