Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The congressman proudly voted to pass the health reform measure in 2010.
"Finally, our country can move forward. With this decision, we can now enjoy the greatest victory for improving the health and well-being of all Americans since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. I applaud the Court for not allowing politics to interfere with its job of upholding the Constitution. As a result of this ruling, millions of Americans will now be able to keep or gain access to quality health insurance coverage, seniors will face lower costs for prescription drugs, and children can stay on their parents' plans until they're 26 years old.
"The Affordable Care Act was one of, if not the most, significant pieces of legislation I voted for during my 20 years in Congress. I proudly voted for it because all American deserve access to quality, affordable health insurance, not just a select group.
"Even though a huge component of the Affordable Care Act doesn't go into effect for another two years, the parts of the law that have already been implemented have provided extraordinary benefits to New Yorkers. Already, 160,000 young New York adults have gained insurance coverage; more than 250,000 Medicare participants in New York have received a $250 drug rebate and collectively saved more than $269 million on their prescriptions; more than 2 million New Yorkers with Medicare received free preventative services; and 6.4 million New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions such as cancer no longer have to worry that their insurance providers will drop them.
"Because of the Affordable Care Act, across the country: nearly 13 million Americans will benefit from $1.1 billion in rebates from insurance companies this summer; millions of women starting in August will begin receiving free coverage for a package of comprehensive women's preventive health services; 46 million seniors have received one or more free preventive services; 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their coverage; 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage by insurers; 3.4 million seniors had a free annual wellness visit under Medicare; and 360,000 small employers used the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit last year to help them afford health insurance for 2 million workers.
"And the best is yet to come. In 2014, each state will open up a health insurance exchange from which Americans will be able to choose from a menu of different insurance options that will have contained costs along with a basic set of requirements that will ensure a basic level of comprehensive coverage."