By Senator Harry Reid
Having grown up in a family that could not afford health care, I know how difficult it can be to go to a doctor when you need one.
That’s one of the reasons I worked on health insurance reform. No person in the United States should go without care when they need it.
I remember an afternoon in October 1951 when my 10-year-old brother Larry fell off his bike and broke his leg. There was no money for a doctor. His leg was never set, and it eventually healed crooked.
Doctor visits were not an option in my home — not for us kids and not for my parents either. My mother’s teeth fell out one by one because she never could pay to see a dentist. She had to gum her food and couldn’t eat the meat we had, so we ate a lot of beans and rice.
Last year’s health insurance reform law provides benefits to seniors on Medicare, people with preexisting and chronic conditions, and small businesses. We have eliminated lifetime limits and made preventive care more affordable.
When writing the law, we knew it would take time to implement, and we worked to minimize the number of people who would have lost coverage before health insurance reform was fully enacted. We provided funding for employers to continue early retiree coverage and gave tax credits to small businesses — both groups were susceptible to losing coverage in the current system.