Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) made the following statement about today's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148):
"I am elated by the Supreme Court's decision today. This ruling is truly a victory for all Americans and a validation of the separation of powers. I personally and especially commend President Obama for his extraordinary leadership and courage in making health care a national priority and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her masterful maneuverings of the legislation through the U.S. Congress.
"Rather than erase arguably our country's greatest achievement in several decades to equalize choice, access, and quality of health care for all Americans, the highest court in the land instead affirmed the right of our citizens to obtain medical care. The Supreme Court rightly concluded that it is not its place to question Congress's wisdom when it comes to how quality and affordable health care is paid for and delivered to as many Americans as possible.
"As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I participated intensively in long, grueling legislative hearings and markups, and offered several amendments to the bill that ultimately became law. As a result of my amendments, low income and underinsured Americans will enjoy comprehensive, continuous health care, including emergency and trauma care, through the Community-Based Collaborative Care Network Program. And as a result of my introduction and tireless advocacy of the Melanie Blocker Stokes Mom's Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, mothers of newborns will be able to receive screening and treatment for suicidal depression that too often stalks far too many susceptible new mothers.
"Today's victory does not mean we are done. Though we have achieved much with this legislation, our fight is not over. We must still reform and expand the 340(b) program to make prescription drugs more affordable and we must do more to train our young people to help fill the gaps in our healthcare system. When enacted these improvements will make our healthcare system even stronger.
"As a result of the Affordable Care Act, never again will Americans have to worry about lack of coverage for any pre-existing conditions. Never again will being a woman lead to higher and discriminatory health care costs. Never again will seniors on limited means have to choose between expensive prescription drugs or life's other necessities. And, never again will a person's place of residence in an economically distressed or a medically-underserved community mean necessarily that health care services will be priced out of reach or be located too far away to access conveniently and affordably.
"As we celebrate our historic accomplishments we must also remember that now the fight begins to make sure that these benefits are fully implemented. And I say to the American people and especially to my constituents in First Congressional District of Illinois: I will stand strong and continue to fight on your behalf to improve the quality of life for you and your family.