Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement in response to the Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Court upheld the majority of the law, including the individual mandate, by a 5-4 vote.
"The Supreme Court's ruling today is a real victory for the American people. This decision upholds the principle that all Americans should have access to affordable, quality health care.
"Millions of Americans have already benefited from this important piece of legislation. From the 6.6 million young adults who have been able to stay on their parents' insurance to the more than 17.6 million children who can no longer be denied coverage. Additionally, 3.25 million seniors in 2011 and 14 million in 2012 have taken advantage of one or more of the free preventative services, while 360,000 small business owners have utilized the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help them provide insurance to 2 million workers. This legislation has been and will continue to make a major difference in our nation's health care system.
"I have always advocated for access to universal health care with a public option. With the Affordable Care Act, we have taken a huge step towards putting patients and their doctors, rather than big insurance companies, in charge of an individual's health care decisions. While I am pleased that this important legislation was upheld by the Supreme Court, there is still work to be done. I hope that my Republican colleagues will now do their part and end their partisan attacks by putting the interests of Americans' health care needs first."
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.