(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the following statement after The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed the full Senate by a vote of 60-39.

"I was proud to go to the Senate floor early this morning to cast an historic vote in favor of reforming our nation’s health care system.   It has been a long path to get here. 

“The bill we passed today meets the goals of increasing competition, lowering costs and providing individuals and businesses with more choice in their health care coverage.  These reforms will put important health care decisions back into the hands of patients and their doctors and will finally force insurance companies to compete for the business of the American people.

“Does this bill include everything all of us wanted?  Of course not.  But it is a very good step forward and will begin to cure the ailments of a system that has been broken for a long time. 

“Throughout this debate I have told the stories of Washington state residents who have shared their health care needs with me.  For years, premiums have been rising faster than wages, businesses have struggled to compete under the weight of skyrocketing costs and millions with no coverage at all have spent nights praying to stay healthy.  This bill will make a difference for all of them.

“With this bill we end insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and make it illegal to drop people if they get sick.  We help lower the federal deficit, make preventive services free, strengthen Medicare while keeping all guaranteed benefits and lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors.  We end arbitrary caps and lifetime limits and limit the amount people have to spend on out-of-pocket fees and co-pays.  And most importantly, we give Americans back control of their own health care needs.

“I am proud of the step we have taken today, but there is still much work to be done.  The passage of the Senate bill is another beginning.   I will continue to tell the stories of Washington residents as we work to combine the House and Senate versions to send the President a bill that will finally begin to bring the change that America’s families and businesses need and deserve.”