For those of you who were not able to write your legislators, I thought I’d give you a taste of how they respond. Here is the form response from Sen. Harry Reid (Nevada/Senate Majority Leader) that I received in response to my e-mail to his office before the healthcare vote in the House. Perhaps he will end the rhetoric and actually allow some of the new Senate amendments to the bill to pass through.
Thank you for writing to express your concerns about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and abortion. I appreciate hearing from you. Today there are reports of up to 47 million uninsured Americans, rising prescription drug prices, and declining health insurance benefits. I want fix these problems and guarantee health care coverage to every Nevadan by lowering costs, expanding coverage, and improving health care quality. I am proud that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has passed in the Senate, taking the next step to make sure all Americans get the care and coverage they need and deserve.
I took note of your specific concerns about abortion. As you may know, I oppose abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues a longstanding policy that forbids even a single taxpayer dollar from being used to pay for an abortion, with exceptions in the case of rape, incest or life endangerment. Furthermore, it would not require plans to cover abortion and it would not require any individual to enroll in a health plan that covers abortion. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would create new conscience protections for health providers and facilities while maintaining conscience protections that already exist under current law.
You may also be interested to know that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes the Pregnant and Parenting Teens and Women Amendment. This provision would provide $250 million over ten years to provide pregnant and parenting teens and young women the support they need to finish their educations and provide for their children. The bill that passed the Senate would also support adoption by increasing the adoption tax credit, making it refundable and extending it through 2011.
As the Senate Majority Leader and the senior senator from Nevada, I am committed to working to find common ground that brings our nation together while respecting both the views of those who differ as well as the values many of us hold deeply. Please know that as we move forward with this legislation, I will keep your ideas and concerns in mind. It is my hope that we can make affordable, comprehensive health coverage a reality for so many Americans who are currently struggling to pay their medical bills, and make ends meet. In the meantime, you can track this and other legislation at www.thomas.gov.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. For more information about my work for Nevada, my role in the United States Senate Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my Web site at http://reid.senate.gov. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
My best wishes to you.
United States Senator