Durbin Statement on Senate Passage of Reconciliation Act

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today applauded the Senate’s passage of legislation that makes key improvements to the historic health care reform law signed by President Obama earlier this week.  The legislation also helps students by cutting out the bank industry middlemen and shifting student loans into the Direct Loan program – a measure that will save American families $61 billion over 10 years.

“The final piece of healthcare legislation that was approved by the Senate today is going to do two important things:

“First, it makes important improvements to the healthcare reform bill signed into law by President Obama this week.  It expands Medicare prescription drug coverage for more than 3 million seniors nationwide and 300,000 in Illinois. It reduces insurance costs for working and middle class Americans. And it also provides immediate tax credits for nearly 150,000 small businesses in Illinois who want to do the right thing for their employees by providing health insurance.

“Second, and equally important, this bill changes the student loan program in America.  It ends a $7 billion annual government subsidy to the biggest banks in America – a subsidy which has raised the cost of student loans across the board.  Eliminating this subsidy is going to save the government money and reduce the cost of student loans. And the money we save is going to be put right back into education grants that will help even more young people go to school.  This is an important step forward that both students and their families need.”