Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen issued the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law:
"One year ago today, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act and changed the course of health care in our nation. This historic reform legislation will bring down health care costs for families and small businesses, expand coverage to millions of Americans, and end the worst practices of insurance companies. It will also help put our nation on more sound fiscal footing, reducing the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next 20 years.
"Americans have already begun to see the law's effects. Small businesses are receiving tax credits so they can provide affordable health coverage, with over 75,000 in Maryland alone eligible to receive this assistance. Children with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage and young people are now able to remain on their parents' insurance up to their 26th birthday -- impacting almost 350,000 people in our State. Medicare beneficiaries can now receive free preventive services and a free annual wellness visit from their doctor, and more than 50,000 Marylanders who hit the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole' have already received $250 tax-free rebates.
"That's only the beginning. Over time, the Affordable Care Act will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to any of the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, extend health care coverage to an additional 32 million people in our country, and ensure middle class families can afford insurance by providing the biggest tax cut for health care in U.S. history.
"Like Social Security and Medicare, the Affordable Care Act was debated vigorously and elicited strong feelings from people on both ends of the political spectrum. But I believe that, like those historic programs, this reform law will truly change health care in our country for the better. We have put families -- not insurance companies -- back in charge of their health care, and just one year later people have started to see the positive impacts. Now is not the time to turn back all the progress we have made."