Some 436,000 people in U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper’s 5th district would “improve” their health insurance coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care bill that’s moving through Congress, according to a report released Wednesday by a key House Democrat.
Statistics, supplied by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, came from a combination of sources, including the U.S. Census, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Congressional Budget Office.
U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., a leading engineer of the health bill, chairs the committee, and issued the fact sheet for each congressional district Wednesday, presumably trying to build final support for a bill he says would “make health care affordable for the middle class.”
Cooper, who voted for the House reform bill in November, is waiting until a final version of the latest bill is released before revealing his position.
“Jim doesn't take positions on legislation until he has language to review,” said Peter Boogaard, Cooper’s spokesman. “He wants to see what changes are being made to the overall proposal and won’t make a decision until he has the opportunity to read the final bill.”
Sixty-three percent of Cooper’s district, which includes all of Davidson and parts of Cheatham and Wilson counties, currently receive health coverage from an employer or through policies purchased on the individual market, the analysis says. For those 436,000 residents, the report continues, “individuals with insurance can keep the coverage they have now, and it will get better.”
“The insurance reforms in the bill prohibit annual and lifetime limits, eliminate rescissions for individuals who become ill while insured, ban coverage denials for pre-existing conditions, and reduce the cost of preventive care,” according to the report. “To rein in soaring insurance costs, the reforms also limit the amount insurance companies can spend on administrative expenses, profits and other overhead.”
Waxman’s report says the bill would also:
• Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 184,000 families and 16,000 small businesses to help them afford coverage
• Improve Medicare for 86,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole
• Extend coverage to 54,000 uninsured residents
• Guarantee that 12,100 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage
• Protect 2,100 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs
• Allow 56,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans
• Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 26 community health centers
• Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $45 million annually