Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen issued the following statement to mark the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, which falls on Saturday:
"Tomorrow marks the three year anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law -- and changing the course of health care in our nation. The law has already helped to slow the growth of health care costs for American families and has established important consumer protections.
"Children with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage and young people are now able to remain on their parents' insurance up to their 26th birthday -- which has so far helped over 46,000 young adults in Maryland and more than three million across the country. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have already started to receive tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees. 47 million women -- over 1 million in Maryland -- now have guaranteed access to preventive health services, like birth control and cervical cancer screenings, without cost sharing. Thanks to the 80/20 rule, insurers have to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on care, rather than things that do not add value to the health care system, like executive pay, marketing, and bonuses.
"Seniors have also started to see important benefits from our Medicare reforms. Beneficiaries can now receive free preventive services, and in 2012 alone 543,632 people with Medicare in Maryland took advantage of this new benefit. Also, Medicare beneficiaries received a 50 percent discount on their covered brand-name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole -- last year, 48,949 people in our state saved over $37.5 million, or an average of $768 per beneficiary.
"Over time, the law will continue to bring down health care costs and will expand coverage to 27 million uninsured Americans. It will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and will end the worst practices of the insurance industry. And beginning in 2014, individuals in every state will be able to shop for health insurance and compare plans through new health insurance Marketplaces.
"The Affordable Care Act was necessary reform that provides needed protections to families and small businesses, and Democrats will continue to fight any efforts to dismantle it."