U.S. Congressman John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act:
"All Americans deserve access to affordable, high-quality health care. The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means we can continue implementing reforms that put patients and their doctors back in charge of health care decisions.
"Many ACA provisions are already providing lower costs and better coverage to millions of Americans, including 86 million individuals who have received free preventive services -- the best way to get people healthy and keep them that way. Health care reform has helped more than five million seniors save $3.7 billion by addressing the Medicare prescription drug donut hole; made it possible for young people to stay on their parents' health plan until their 26th birthday; and extended the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to 360,000 small businesses to help them afford health insurance for more than two million employees.
"The health reform law is reining in insurance industry abuses and enhancing benefits. Insurance companies are now prohibited from dropping patients when they get sick, placing lifetime limits on the amount of coverage a patient may receive, and discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies are also required to invest a reasonable amount of the premiums they collect in better health services and more access to care -- not sink it in slick advertising and excessive executive pay.
"This is only the beginning. As we move forward, the Affordable Care Act will create health insurance exchanges where uninsured individuals and small businesses can choose from multiple private plans and end discrimination due to pre-existing conditions for people of all ages.
"Although I disagree with the majority's interpretation that the Congress cannot enact an individual mandate of health insurance coverage under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, I am pleased that we are now able to move forward."