U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the landmark health insurance reform law known as the Affordable Care Act:
"Today's decision is good news for all Americans. In upholding the law, the Supreme Court acted not only in accordance with the Constitution, but in the best interests of the nation and our economic future.
"For too long, health insurance companies got away with increasing premiums and decreasing coverage, which resulted in higher costs and unfair practices.
"Health reform is long overdue. Nearly two decades ago, former Republican Senator John H. Chafee pointed out that a private health insurance market works best when everyone is in the insurance market. And during the debate in 2009, top Republicans in Congress were still saying "there is a bipartisan consensus to have an individual mandate."
"Today's ruling moves us closer to providing more Americans with access to affordable coverage. Everyone should be responsible when it comes to health care, and, under this law, everyone -- from individuals to small business -- will be eligible for important new health insurance benefits, protections, and choices.
"The law doesn't fully kick in until 2014. Now that the Court has spoken, I hope opponents of the law end their losing, partisan battle against the Affordable Care Act and join us in creating jobs, improving our economy, and fixing our broken health care system.
"So far Rhode Island received over $145 million in Affordable Care Act funds to upgrade our health infrastructure, invest in new technologies, and ease the burden of retiree health insurance costs. The law is already providing Rhode Islanders with new benefits, like preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs, allowing young adults to remain on their parents' insurance, and tax credits to help small businesses offer coverage to their employees.
"With the aid of nearly $65 million in Affordable Care Act funds, Rhode Island has also taken steps to create new, competitive exchanges where the uninsured and small businesses can buy more affordable insurance starting in 2014. The state's exchange should help consumers find better health coverage options at a price they can afford. Additionally, over 15,000 Rhode Island seniors have already saved nearly $14 million on their prescription drug costs since 2011, and $4.5 million has helped Rhode Island businesses develop new, cost-effective medical therapies.
"I hope Rhode Island and our nation can continue working to build a better health care system based on quality, affordability, and personal responsibility."