Congressman Owens released the following statement today in response to the 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
"Now that the court has ruled, Democrats and Republicans must come together to implement the law, which includes making changes where appropriate to improve provisions that still need work. The goal has always been to expand coverage, improve health care outcomes, and reduce costs for patients and providers. Now the debate is over and it's time to move forward with those goals in mind."
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has reported that the health care law will reduce federal deficits by $210 billion between 2012-2021. New York has set an example as a national leader in implementation of the law. The state, which already provides strong consumer protections, including guaranteed insurance coverage, has been working in partnership with the federal government to establish a statewide health insurance marketplace as part of the law.
Approximately 1 million New Yorkers will gain health insurance coverage when this health insurance exchange is fully implemented. New York's Division of Budget estimates significant savings to the state -- $18 billion over 10 years -- as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Key provisions in the health care law that were preserved today by the Supreme Court's decision include:
Private insurers can no longer place lifetime limits on the coverage they provide, ensuring that the 10 million New York residents with private insurance coverage never have to worry about their coverage running out and facing catastrophic out-of-pocket costs.
Insurance companies are banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.
Insurance companies cannot exclude children from coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
More than 240,000 New York Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage are receiving extra help to defray the cost of their prescription drugs until the law completely closes the donut hole by 2020.
Plans and issuers that offer coverage to children on their parents' policy must allow children to remain on their parents' policy until they turn 26. This provision will bring relief to roughly 77,800 individuals in New York who now have access to coverage through their parents.
Increased funding for Community Health Centers is helping the 508 Community Health Centers in New York and supporting the construction of new centers -- including in Watertown and on Route 11 between Champlain and Rouses Point.
Increased funding for scholarships and loan repayments available for doctors, nurses and other health care providers who work in areas with a shortage of health professionals will help the 11% of New York's population who live in an underserved area.
Increased federal Medicaid funding will allow New York to cover more low-income populations.
340,000 New York small businesses are eligible for a new small business tax credit that makes it easier to provide coverage to their workers and makes premiums more affordable.