It is a core American value that we look after our own, including offering our citizens a basic level of healthcare. I was proud to support the first comprehensive legislation in decades to help change our health care system for the better. While this was an enormous step in the right direction, there is still much more to be done to address the challenge of rising health care costs. I am committed to working with all elements of our health care system to tackle this difficult problem and to ensure that everyone has access to decent, affordable health care now and in the future.
After decades of failed efforts to reform our nation's health care system, Congress finally enacted comprehensive legislation to open the door to affordable, high-quality care for all Americans. With 36 million Americans uninsured and our economy crippled under the weight of spiraling health care costs, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a breakthrough.
* Expanding Access
Through new state-based exchanges, the expansion of public programs, and tax credits for small businesses, the health reform law will reduce the number of uninsured by 32 million people in 2019, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In our district alone, these reforms will extend coverage to 31,000 uninsured residents; give tax credits and other assistance to up to 94,000 families and 19,700 small businesses to help them afford coverage; and allow 43,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans.
* Improving Coverage
Reform will improve coverage for 463,000 Fairfield County residents with new protections over premium hikes, annual and lifetime caps, and exclusions because of pre-existing conditions. It also improves the package of included health benefits and requires coverage of preventive services.
* Restraining Costs and Improving Performance
As the Affordable Care Act is implemented in the coming years, its reforms will reduce our deficit by more than $100 billion over the next ten years, and by more than $1 trillion over the following decade through reducing overpayments, tackling waste, fraud and abuse, and investing in more efficient models of care.
Protecting Medicare and Medicaid:
Medicare and Medicaid have been stable, reliable programs for seniors and people with disabilities for over four decades. The Affordable Care Act made important changes to these programs to reduce costs, increase revenues, expand the scope of benefits, and encourage the development of new and efficient health care delivery systems. We must continue to build on these efforts and be prepared to equitably reform these programs to address the challenging problem of rising health care costs and ensure that these important safety net programs are here to help this generation and the next.
Ensuring a Woman's Access to Care:
I believe that women must be able to make their own decisions about their health without fear of government intrusion, and am firmly committed to protecting their reproductive rights. However, there is much more we can and must do to achieve the goals shared on both sides of this issue. I have and will continue to support efforts to reduce unplanned pregnancies through the availability of critical family planning services and access to comprehensive sex education. Through common-sense efforts, I hope to find opportunities to put differences aside and work in common purpose to ensure that potential parents are empowered to make good choices and every child grows up in a stable, loving family.