WASHINGTON, May 25 Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks this afternoon at a Congressional awards reception for the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC) Annual Advocacy Training Conference in the Russell Senate Office Building. The Speaker was presented with the Public Policy Leadership Award. Below are the Speaker’s remarks as prepared:
“Thank you, Fran [Visco] for your kind introduction and for the honor of this award.
“During the health care debate, Fran – and many of you – were essential allies. Fran stormed Capitol Hill, testified before House committees, and demanded that health care be a right, not just a privilege. Under Fran’s leadership, the NBCC was named one of the 20 most influential organizations in health policy in the country.
“I know that the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s number one legislative priority is access to quality health care for all. And because of your advocacy, your organization, your number one legislative priority is now the law of the land.
“You know best what this means:
- Affordability for the middle class;
- Access for millions more Americans;
- Accountability for the insurance industry…..
“Health insurance reform will:
- Insure 32 million more people;
- Improve care and benefits under Medicare and extending Medicare solvency for almost a decade;
- Allow young people to stay on their parents’ health care until they are 26;
- Create a healthier America through prevention, wellness, and innovation;
- Create more than 4 million jobs;
- And save the taxpayer $1.3 trillion dollars.
“No longer can anyone be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition, including breast cancer. And no longer is being a woman a pre-existing condition.
“Already we are seeing progress. As you know, the media has reported that certain insurance companies were particularly targeting women with breast cancer diagnoses for rescission.
“But because of your leadership, America’s largest insurers acted even sooner than the health insurance reform bill we passed required to end the shameful practice of dropping people’s coverage when they get sick.
“We’re counting on you to continue to work with us to educate the American people about what health care reform means to them.
“I know you have come to Capitol Hill to lobby for increased funding for breast cancer research. We have been working together on this issue for years. In the early years, our battle was to make sure that NIH was directing resources to breast cancer. I remember when we first broke the $100 million mark for breast cancer funding. With the help of Jack Murtha, together we created the Breast Cancer Research Program at the Defense Department, which has invested $2 billion of research since 1993.
“But that’s not enough. We can honor Jack Murtha’s legacy by continuing to fight for federal dollars. And we can make this a golden age of medical research by continuing to drive the debate, pressing for a greater investment, and by focusing on the next frontiers in medicine that hold great promise for the defeat of breast cancer.
“Thank you for your remarkable efforts to fight breast cancer. Thank you for the progress we have made on behalf of all Americans.
“We’ll never stop fighting until we eradicate this disease, and create a healthier America for all.”