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Congressman Jose Serrano Remarks

By admin | October 7, 2007

Excerpts of Congressman Jose Serrano Remarks
Presented at the
Latinos for National Health Insurance Forum
The Bronx, NY – September 15, 2007 – The following are excerpts of Congressman José E. Serrano’s remarks on health care as prepared for delivery.

“I truly appreciate Latinos for National Health Insurance’s fight to ensure that every man, woman and child in America receives quality healthcare. Your unyielding dedication to achieving this necessary goal is commendable and I hope you will continue your important work on behalf of those in need.

“Like you, I believe that the crisis of our uninsured is a national problem, requiring a national solution. Healthcare should not be viewed as a luxury but a basic human right.
“In New York City, more than 1 million of our neighbors are without medical coverage—18 percent of whom live right here in the Bronx.

“That solution, I believe, is a health insurance system – publicly financed, privately delivered – available to everyone in this country.

“Census data reveals that one third of all Latinos in the U.S. are without medical coverage, and twenty percent of blacks and Asians are in the same situation.

“The proportion of uninsured minorities in this country has increased from forty-two percent to fifty three percent in the past twenty years. It is also estimated that almost 80 percent of all undocumented immigrants are without health insurance.

“Sadly, these are the groups that have the greatest need for care, as they disproportionately suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and asthma.

“And we are not only talking about the uninsured, the middle class in America is also feeling the pain. Higher premiums, deductibles and co-payments are encouraging people to delay seeking health care; so that when they finally do see a doctor are often so ill that the costs associated with their treatment can be astronomical.

“I am a co-sponsor of HR 676, the “U.S. National Health Insurance Act.” This legislation would improve upon the existing Medicare program, extending coverage to all U.S. residents, including those residing in U.S. territories.

“HR 676 would cover every person in the U.S. for all necessary medical care, including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, podiatric, chiropractic and long term care.

“In addition, the legislation would end deductibles and co-payments which take so much out of workers’ pay checks. It requires every employer to contribute only their fair share, based on their payroll, toward the cost of the system.

“Finally, the measure would help curb skyrocketing health care costs, while simultaneously giving every man, woman and child without medical coverage a new lease on life.

“Recent polls show that a majority of Americans want a national, federally guaranteed health care system for everybody. Despite this fact, policy makers on the other side of the issue refuse to explore ways to expand coverage.

“In fact, last week, the Bush Administration rejected New York’s application to allow more middle income families to participate in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, opting instead to adhere to guidelines that will limit this important program’s scope; a move that will only result in more uninsured children.

“A majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea that children are suffering from preventable illness. A majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea that the security of so many families is under threat because a person’s health often lies beyond her or his financial grasp.

“We are on the right side of this issue, on the majority side, and so we must remain vigilant in our push for a better way to care for this nation.

“People need to be given hope that a long life is not only possible – it is what our country wants for its people.

Congressman José E. Serrano has represented the Bronx in Congress since 1990.

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