Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) launched a new, coordinated effort in Congress to highlight the positive impacts that the Affordable Care Act is having on millions of low- and middle-income Americans. Over the past four years, the law has provided health insurance coverage and new benefits to millions of Americans, reduced their overall cost of care, and reduced federal health spending. More than 6 million Americans have signed up for health insurance since 2009, and the majority of Americans want to make sure Congress gives this law a chance to work. But Republicans in Congress have worked to sabotage the Affordable Care Act by attempting to block implementation and deny funding for critical provisions of the law. Republicans have also staged nearly 40 show votes in the House of Representatives to strip the law's benefits and protections from millions of Americans who stand to gain from it.
In this effort's inaugural event today, the senators highlighted the impact the Affordable Care Act has on seniors across the United States. It used to be the case that when people with Medicare hit a certain threshold of spending on prescription drugs, they would suddenly have to pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of the prescription drugs until they reached catastrophic coverage. Now, the Affordable Care Act is closing this gap in coverage, the so-called "donut hole". More than 7 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved approximately $9 billion on prescription drugs, an average savings of about $1,200 per person. Additionally, data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, in the first eleven months of 2013 alone, an estimated 25.4 million people with traditional Medicare received at least one free preventive service, such as an annual wellness visit or mammogram, at no out-of-pocket cost.
"In the most powerful, most affluent country in the world, it's unacceptable for someone to die or go to bed desperately sick simply because they can't afford to see a doctor," said Murphy. "Our country spends more on health care than any other country in the world, but our results don't warrant that extra expenditure. The Affordable Care Act is working to reverse this unsustainable trend. By lowering health care costs for families across Connecticut, and reducing federal health care spending, the law continues to achieve tremendous results for millions of people. As we heard today, seniors are prime beneficiaries of this law, with the average senior on Medicare saving $1,200 on prescription drug costs, and receiving a number of preventive services without any cost to them. In the coming weeks we'll continue to remind Republicans what they'd be taking away from seniors and families in their efforts to undermine the law. The Affordable Care Act works and it's time we all work together to get Americans the health care they deserve."
"The Affordable Care Act has already helped millions of seniors save on prescription drugs and preventative care, and those benefits are going to continue," said Schumer. "The fact is that the law is helping millions find secure, affordable coverage, so the Affordable Care Act is not going to be the political silver bullet Republicans would like it to be. As more and more seniors and others benefit from Obamacare, and the parade of horribles that Republicans and their allies predicted fails to materialize, the consequences of Republican efforts to repeal the law will become clear."
"The Affordable Care Act is making a positive impact for millions of families across America, including thousands back home in Michigan," said Stabenow. "For example, seniors are saving on average $1,200 on their prescriptions and have no-cost for annual check-ups with their doctors, flu shots, and cancer screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies. That means more money in seniors' pockets. We need to make sure Republicans don't take these benefits away from Michigan families."
"Millions of seniors across the country are already benefitting from the Affordable Care Act," Boxer said. "In California, seniors have saved more than $725 million on their prescriptions since the law was passed -- an average of $900 per senior last year. And more than 2 million California seniors have received at least one preventive service benefit. The bottom line is that this law is saving seniors money and helping them get the medications they need and the health care they deserve."
"For countless seniors in Rhode Island and across the country, the Affordable Care Act means they save hundreds of dollars on prescription drugs as the Medicare doughnut hole closes. It means new access to free preventive services. And for those who don't yet qualify for Medicare, it means they don't have to be worry about losing insurance coverage if they retire early or change jobs," said Whitehouse. "The Affordable Care Act is making a real difference for American seniors, plain and simple."