Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) commented on passage of "the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act":
"For too long, working families have lived in fear that they are just one illness away from financial ruin. For too long, the men and women in my home state of New York have watched their premiums skyrocket, with family rates up 97% in the last decade. For too long, Latinos have been left behind, suffering the highest uninsured rate of any other community. Tonight, it is time to say enough.
"It is time to say enough to the discriminatory policies that charge women and minorities more money for the same services. It is time to say enough to a system that has pushed more than 2.5 million New Yorkers over the brink and into the ranks of the uninsured. And it is time to say enough to a status quo that robs Americans of the peace of mind that can only come from knowing this -- they, and they alone, are in charge of their own well being.
"This bill gives every American that autonomy. For the Latino community, it delivers coverage to 8.8 million people. In my home district, it improves options for 324,000 residents, and expands care to 86,000 more. For 16,000 people with preexisting conditions, it allows them to buy affordable health plans right away, promising them: Never again. Never again can you be denied coverage. And for 4,300 of my district's seniors paying full price for prescription drugs, it closes the Medicare donut hole.
"Meanwhile, this bill invests in New York's network of community health centers. In my district alone, 33 clinics will see critical improvements, meaning more options for the men and women of Brooklyn, Queens and the Lower East Side. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what this legislation is all about -- options?
"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will deliver better choices -- not just for New Yorkers, but for all Americans. With the passage of health care reform, we are finally answering a decades-long cry for help. We are finally empowering the American people with quality, affordable options that put them in the driver's seat, and I urge support of this landmark legislation."