Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement in commemoration of the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act:
"Two years ago today, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. This important legislation is the first to ensure that all Americans will have access to health care, regardless of their age, gender, and medical condition. The law ensures that insurance companies play by the rules, lowers health care costs, guarantees more choice, and enhances the quality of care for millions of Americans.
"For the first time in our nation's history, adults and children will not be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, preventive medicine will be free and available to all, annual and lifetime caps on health benefits will be eliminated, young adults up to 26 years of age will be allowed to remain on their parents' health insurance, prescription drugs for seniors will be affordable thanks to the elimination of the 'donut hole,' small businesses will receive tax credits to help them provide health insurance to their employees, and insurance companies will be required to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care and prohibited from implementing unjustified premium hikes. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act creates state exchanges that will soon allow individuals and families to shop for health insurance in a transparent, fair, and competitive marketplace.
"The law will continue to phase in until 2014 when all of its provisions will be fully implemented, but millions of Americans have already experienced firsthand its important benefits. I am pleased to announce that in my Congressional district:
- 6,700 young adults can now have health coverage through their parents' insurance plan;
- 9,000 to 40,000 children can no longer be denied health coverage because of pre-existing conditions;
- 20,000 children, 80,000 adults, and 59,000 seniors can now access preventive services without having to pay any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles;
- 8,900 seniors received prescription drug discounts worth $5.4 million, an average discount of $600 per senior;
- 760 small businesses received tax credits to help them afford health insurance for their employees; and
- $1.8 million in public health grants have been awarded to health care providers.
"Without a doubt, the Affordable Care Act represents one of the most significant pieces of legislation in our nation's history. It is a major accomplishment for millions of children, seniors, women, young adults, and small business owners. In addition, it will reduce the federal deficit by more than $100 billion over the next decade, and by more than $1 trillion in the following decade.
"But despite the obvious positive impact that the Affordable Care Act has made in the lives of millions of Americans, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has continuously attempted to dismantle the law by repealing provision after provision. I am seriously distraught that some of my colleagues continue to ignore the challenges and struggles of the American people and still want to place the interests of insurance companies over the well-being of American individuals and families. I will do everything in my power to move this country forward, not backward to the days when insurance companies were in charge."
As a Member of Congress since 1992, Hastings has always been a strong advocate for smart, comprehensive, and sustainable health care reform. In the 111th Congress alone, he sponsored and co-sponsored over 200 health-related bills in order to increase health care affordability, access, and quality, and has led and supported efforts to facilitate better health care at home in his Congressional district and for the nation as a whole.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.