Statement by Senator Daniel K. Inouye:
"Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act more than two years ago, the President and those in the Congress who worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass this measure have been subjected to legal scrutiny and withering criticism from opponents of the law. Improving the way we treat the sick and how we provide for the health of our families became a bitter political fight. Now that the Supreme Court has determined the law is constitutionally legitimate, let's get on with the work of the people.
I applaud the Justices for their careful review of the law and thank them for ruling on behalf of the healthcare needs of millions of Americans. Because of the health care reform law, over 3 million young adults now have health insurance that would otherwise not be covered, 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage, and more than 5 million seniors will save $4 billion on their prescription drugs.
We in the Congress understand this law is not perfect but it can and will be improved, over time, in the same fashion that changes and improvements have been incorporated over the past 46 years to the Medicare program. I am proud to have been a part of the historic process that brought comprehensive healthcare reform to every American and I look forward to working with my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, as we continue to improve this important initiative," said Senator Inouye.
Statement by Senator Daniel K. Akaka:
"I am pleased the Supreme Court upheld the bill as constitutional. The Affordable Care Act may now fulfill its full promise to bring quality health care to millions more Americans, combat skyrocketing costs, and lower the burden of uninsured patients on our hospitals and doctors.
The Affordable Care Act has already helped thousands of young adults in Hawaii stay on their parents' plans, helped over 24,000 Hawaii seniors afford their prescription drugs, and helped over 100 Hawaii residents with pre-existing conditions get insurance coverage. Now that the Affordable Care Act is without question the law of the land, many more Hawaii residents will gain new coverage options over the next two years.
I am proud that Hawaii is ahead of the curve as the first state to announce plans to develop a state-based health insurance exchange. Hawaii is again proving itself as a national leader in quality health care coverage, and today's ruling clears the way for the Hawaii Health Connector to succeed.
While some politicians will continue to attack this legislation, it is crucial that Congress focus on creating jobs, taking care of our veterans, improving education, defending our environment, and addressing the many other issues that are so important to our nation. We debated this landmark reform for over a year, and the courts have deliberated even longer. It's time to move forward and tackle other urgent issues.
As we discuss today's news, we cannot forget about the minority populations in our nation that continue to face serious health disparities, including higher rates of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease and lack of access to culturally competent health care services. We must do all we can to ensure quality health care for all Americans, and today's ruling is a big step in that direction."
Statement by Congresswoman Mazie Hirono:
"This ruling means that Americans can now count on secure and stable insurance coverage. If you have a pre-existing condition, you'll be able to get health care; if you become seriously ill, there will be no annual limits on your care; if you're a woman you won't be charged higher premiums; and if you don't have coverage, you will be able to buy affordable coverage.
"The Affordable Care Act has already had a positive impact on the lives of Hawaii's families and seniors. An estimated 6,000 young adults in Hawaii now have access to health insurance. Nearly 25,000 people on Medicare have saved over $14.5 million in prescription drug costs. More than 200,000 people helped control long-term health costs by gaining preventative health service coverage. And Hawaii has received millions of dollars for critical investments including the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the West Hawaii Community Health Center.
"While today's Supreme Court ruling in support of the Affordable Care Act is good news for our families in Hawaii, I will continue to work to make sure everyone has access to quality health care."
Statement by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa:
"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."