Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
"The Court's decision is a victory for the tens of millions of Americans who will continue to receive affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Young adults receiving health insurance through their families' plans, seniors getting relief from the Medicare donut hole, women protected from discriminatory practices in health care, and small businesses enjoying tax credits to offset the cost of health insurance now have reassurance that these benefits will still be available to them in the future.
"Healthcare reform touches the lives of millions of Americans who want nothing more than to be able to take their children to see a doctor, or to know that a serious illness will not bankrupt their families. Today's decision is not about politics; it is about the well-being of ordinary people.
"To date, the Affordable Care Act has improved the lives of many in our community. In Hawaii alone, about 6,000 young adults under the age of 26 have gotten coverage under their family's plan. More than three million young adults nationwide enjoy that coverage under the law. More than 24,000 Hawaii residents receiving Medicare got a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2010 -- and the law will close the donut hole by 2020.
"Since the law was enacted, Hawaii residents with Medicare have saved more than $14.5 million for their prescription drugs. And across the country, small businesses will continue to benefit from the Affordable Care Act's tax credit--up to 35%--to offset the cost of health insurance. They can look forward to that credit increasing to 50% in 2014. They will also be able to shop for health insurance at Affordable Insurance Exchanges in 2014, again lowering the cost of coverage.
"I am not under any illusions that this is the end of the healthcare debate. From here we will move forward to both continue to protect the Affordable Care Act from attacks by its opponents, and to build on this success to lighten the load on Americans from all walks of life."
The Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in a 5-4 decision, but limited the law's Medicaid expansion.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Hawaii has received:
$15.4 million in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges;
$1 million in Planning Grants which provides our states with the resources needed to conduct the research and planning necessary to build a better health insurance marketplace and determine how its exchange will be operated and governed;
$14.4 million in Exchange Establishment Grants which help States continue their work to implement key provisions of the ACA;
$7.1 million in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act. This new fund was created to support effective policies in Hawaii, its communities, and nationwide so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives;
$28.7 million to create new health center sites in medically underserved communities, enable health centers to increase the number of patients served, expand preventative and primary health care services, and improvements for facilities;
$1 million for school-based health centers, to help clinics expand and provide more health care services such as screenings to students;
$110,000 to support outreach to eligible Medicare beneficiaries about their benefits;
$286,700 for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, organizations run by and for families with children with special health care needs;
$1.3 million for disease demonstration projects, to test approaches that may encourage behavior modification among Medicaid beneficiaries and determine solutions;
$6.1 million for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs that bring health professionals to meet with at-risk families in their homes and connect families to the kinds of help that can make a real difference in a child's health, development, and ability to learn - such as health care, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition.