Every American deserves access to affordable health care and the ability to see a doctor when they are ill without risking financial ruin. I strongly support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law last year, because it will fundamentally reform our health care system, by reducing insurance costs while increasing stability and the rights of consumers. These reforms improve Medicare by delivering cheaper prescription drugs, lowering co-pays for seniors among many other important changes.
There is no excuse for the fact that in the richest nation on earth, more than 47 million Americans go without insurance each year. This lack of insurance coverage not only leads to the death of over 44,000 Americans every year, but it also raises insurance costs because uninsured Americans are treated in hospitals and emergency rooms that pass along the costs to you and me. Having this health care reform law means that health care costs will now actually go down for all Americans. Although I strongly supported the "public option' as the best way to ensure costs come down, there is no doubt that health care reform as enacted will increase competition and drive down private insurance company premiums.
I will never support any health care reform or budget agreement that fundamentally jeopardizes the guarantees of care to seniors under Medicare. I strongly oppose the proposals put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan and Speaker Boehner that would end Medicare. On the contrary, we can make changes to reduce health care costs that will strengthen Medicare, including allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices through Medicare. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act included a number of significant cost saving reforms to Medicare as well as pilot programs to test out alternate payment systems and other reform ideas. In addition, I oppose any changes to Medicaid that will hurt the ability of seniors to get the nursing home care they need.