Commentary: Every Nevadan deserves good, affordable health care

All Nevadans deserve affordable health insurance, the ability to choose and see their doctors in a timely fashion, and low-cost medicines whenever necessary. In the Senate, I'm fighting to ensure that we deliver a bill that reduces costs, improves outcomes, and protects patient's choice. It's time to bring safety and stability to our health care.

Passing a bill of this magnitude that will improve the lives of so many people is never easy, and I understand that there are those with concerns in regards to health insurance reform. However, there are too many trying to intentionally mislead you about what health insurance reform means, in order to perpetuate the status quo that benefits big insurance companies. It's important to clear up a few of these myths, so Nevadans can make their own decisions.

One of the more offensive claims about health reform legislation are the so called "death panels" that we've all been hearing about. No Democrat has ever advocated taking complicated end-of-life decisions out of the hands of patients, their families, and their doctors, and I will never support legislation that says otherwise.

It's also important to note that those claiming millions of Americans will be forced to lose their private insurance and accept government-run health insurance are not being honest with you. Nowhere in any of the bills that Congress is discussing will you find this claim. If Nevadans like the health insurance they have, they can keep it.

What we're doing is fighting to give those who either can't afford insurance, or aren't happy with their current coverage, another option. All Nevadans deserve affordable coverage, and many of them deserve better coverage than what they can afford.

Solutions that make a real difference are long overdue. Health care costs are rising at double the rate of inflation and more than half of the bankruptcies in the United States now are a result of health care bills. The cost of inaction is far too great to allow the status-quo defenders to have their way.

Nevadans deserve better than a well-funded campaign of misinformation. They deserve reliable coverage with accessible providers, and affordable medications. They deserve to stop being discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions, and they deserve to keep more of their hard earned money, instead of being forced to spend it on skyrocketing health care bills.

• Sen. Harry Reid can be reached at through his Web site at reid.senate.gov

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