U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka issued the following statement today:
I am pleased the Supreme Court upheld the bill as constitutional. The Affordable Care Act may now fulfill its full promise to bring quality health care to millions more Americans, combat skyrocketing costs, and lower the burden of uninsured patients on our hospitals and doctors.
The Affordable Care Act has already helped thousands of young adults in Hawaii stay on their parents' plans, helped over 24,000 Hawaii seniors afford their prescription drugs, and helped over 100 Hawaii residents with pre-existing conditions get insurance coverage. Now that the Affordable Care Act is without question the law of the land, many more Hawaii residents will gain new coverage options over the next two years.
I am proud that Hawaii is ahead of the curve as the first state to announce plans to develop a state-based health insurance exchange. Hawaii is again proving itself as a national leader in quality health care coverage, and today's ruling clears the way for the Hawaii Health Connector to succeed.
While some politicians will continue to attack this legislation, it is crucial that Congress focus on creating jobs, taking care of our veterans, improving education, defending our environment, and addressing the many other issues that are so important to our nation. We debated this landmark reform for over a year, and the courts have deliberated even longer. It's time to move forward and tackle other urgent issues.
As we discuss today's news, we cannot forget about the minority populations in our nation that continue to face serious health disparities, including higher rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease and lack of access to culturally competent health care services. We must do all we can to ensure quality health care for all Americans, and today's ruling is a big step in that direction.