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Legislative Alert! U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Affordable Care Act
By 2014, 32 million uninsured Americans will have access to health care
This is a great day for health care reform. The U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark decision today to uphold the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This is a win for the health care of millions of Pennsylvanians.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010, by President Obama, completing a task worked on by seven presidents before him.
With the passage of this important federal health care reform law, the president put families and small businesses in control of their health care, instead of insurance companies, and made quality health care a right for all Americans.
The benefits of the Affordable Care Act cannot be ignored, including expansion of insurance coverage, elimination of benefit caps and denials of insurance due to pre-existing conditions. We need affordable, accessible health care in Pennsylvania and this Act gives us just that.
While most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act do not take effect until January 1, 2014, there are many beneficial attributes of the law that are already hard at work. These benefits could have been snatched away from those individuals already taking advantage of them if the Court would have ruled the law unconstitutional.
These provisions of the law now in effect include the expansion of insurance coverage, elimination of benefit caps and denials of insurance due to pre-existing conditions.
What was at stake:
- More than 54 million individuals with private health insurance, including more than 20 million women have received preventative health care at no cost because of this act.
- Approximately 105 million Americans now enjoy improved coverage without lifetime limits on their benefits. Approximately 28 million of these persons are children.
- More than 4.5 million Pennsylvanians have benefitted from the removal of lifetime limits on benefits. Nearly 1.1 million of those who have benefited in Pennsylvania are children.
- Children with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage.
- Domestic Violence is no longer considered a pre-existing condition.
- Under the provisions of the law, seniors are currently receiving help with the cost of their medications
- Nationally, more than 5 million seniors on Medicare have saved an average of $635 each on prescription drugs as a result of the affordability act.
- Tax credits to help small businesses with the cost of health insurance for their employees are now in place. This allows small business to cope with the cost of health insurance and eliminates the competitive disadvantage with businesses that do not offer health insurance coverage.
- Young Adults can stay on their parents health insurance until age 26, even though Pennsylvania has already implemented this prior to the act. As a result an additional 2.5 million young adults have gained coverage since September 2010.
By the time all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect in 2014, all Americans will have access to affordable health insurance options. Health Insurance Exchanges will allow individuals and small businesses to compare health plans and chose the one that is best for their family and employees. Tax credits will be available for middle and low-income families to help cover the costs of healthcare. Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income Americans.
All in all, when fully implemented the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of uninsured by 32 million.
We have fought long and hard and it has culminated in the work in Washington D.C. to finally achieve something that has never been achieved in this nation and clearly in this Commonwealth.
This is an absolute win for health care reform. For those of us who have labored so long for health care reform in America, we must continue the fight for the Affordable Care Act and work diligently to block those who want to see this landmark legislation fail.
We must now begin the task to ensure that all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented and that true health care reform is upheld.
You can find out more specifics about the Affordable Care Act and provide your feedback on my website at senatorhughes.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes