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America’s healthcare system is broken. That’s why Senator Harry Reid is leading the charge to pass fiscally responsible health insurance reform that cuts costs, protects patients’ choice of their doctors and ensures quality affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Health insurance reform will provide the kind of choices and competition currently lacking.

And it does so in a fiscally responsible way. In fact, the Senate legislation, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, cuts the deficit by $130 billion in the first ten years and an estimated $650 billion in the second ten years.

It protects Nevada’s seniors by strengthening Medicare and lowering the cost of prescription drug medications. In fact, 58,200 Nevada Medicare beneficiaries are hit by the Medicare “donut hole” that can cost seniors an average of $4,080 per year. The legislation reduces this coverage gap while providing a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs and biologics for low and middle-income seniors. Furthermore, the legislation offers free preventive care for 328,000 Nevada Medicare beneficiaries on procedures such as colonoscopies and mammograms.

Additionally, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will drive down costs by covering the uninsured. Right now, Nevadans shoulder the hidden costs associated with the $335 million spent on uncompensated care in the state. By expanding coverage to the 518,000 uninsured Nevadans, the legislation relieves some of the pressure off of our state’s already cash strapped families.

The Senate legislation also invests in small business. While small firms make up 70% of Nevada’s businesses, only 49% of them offered health coverage benefits in 2008. One of the primary reasons for this is that the average small business pays nearly 20 percent more per worker than a larger company for the same healthcare policy. To address this, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides tax credits that could assist 24,000 small businesses throughout the state to make premiums more affordable.

Finally, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act keeps insurance companies honest. To inject some much needed competition into the healthcare marketplace, the legislation includes a voluntary public option that allows state’s ability to opt-out. Furthermore, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, being a woman, or getting older.

But most importantly, health insurance reform will ensure that medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats or anybody else.

"Taking your child to the doctor, filling a prescription or giving your workers health insurance should not have to be choices. They should not end in question marks. And that’s exactly why we are working to bring stability and security back to health care." -Senator Harry Reid

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