The Times Leader: Joe Sestak

At 4 years old, my daughter Alex received a devastating diagnosis: aggressive brain cancer. But together, my wife, daughter and I fought hard, and Alex beat this terrible illness. Thanks to high-quality health coverage I received as an officer in the Navy, we always had access to the best treatment.

But I will never forget during our time in the hospital, hearing the anguish of another family on the other side of the curtain – one that didn’t have access to health coverage. Their child faced a similar prognosis, and their options were severely limited.

This is a deeply personal issue for me, not an abstract political discussion. I ran for Congress to make sure every American has access to the same level of care that saved my daughter’s life. Our health reform law isn’t perfect, but it takes critical steps toward fair access to quality care, and decreasing costs for everyone. It will put an end to a broken system in which life-and-death decisions are made by insurance bureaucrats, not families and doctors, while reducing the national debt by over $1 trillion.

Never again will insurance companies be permitted to drop customers – like my daughter – who have “pre-existing conditions.” We close the donut hole that has forced seniors to pay exorbitant drug costs; allow young people to stay on parents’ insurance until age 26; prohibit discrimination against women and the elderly; and offer free preventive exams to catch illness early.

We aid small businesses burdened by insurance costs by providing immediate tax breaks of up to 35 percent of premiums, and additional tax breaks that cover 50 percent in the long term. Many provisions have already gone into effect while others are being phased in.

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