(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the following statement after the manager’s amendment for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was introduced. The bill, which lowers costs, expands coverage and increases competition among insurance companies, was projected by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today to reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the next ten years.

"Today, with this bill, we are closer than ever to lowering the cost of health care for Washington state families and businesses, injecting real competition into the market to increase patient choice, and helping those without insurance get coverage for themselves and their families.

"Health care is an issue that raises passions and debate on all sides and changing our badly broken system was never going to come easy. But the indisputable fact is that if we do nothing, costs will continue to soar, families and businesses will continue to struggle under rising premiums and millions of Washington families will find their health care not in the hands of their doctors, but instead at the mercy of insurance industry executives.

"With this bill we take needed steps to change a system that has been working against Washington state families and businesses for far too long. We bring down premiums for Washington residents whose rates have skyrocketed year in and year out.  We protect Medicare and lower the cost of prescription drugs for Washington seniors.  We end discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, including a provision that ensures that the moment this bill is signed no insurance company will ever be able to turn away a child in our state based on a health condition. We make prevention a priority and ban insurance companies from dropping someone just because they get sick. We end arbitrary caps on coverage.  And we do it without taking away health care options for women or any other group of Americans. And with a bill that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says will cut the deficit.

"Now is the time for leadership and for doing the right thing even when it's hard. I urge my colleagues to vote for a stronger future by passing health insurance reform now."