US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

The Role of States in Higher Education

Harkin Statement on the Third Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

Friday, March 22, 2013

WASHINGTON—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on the third anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act:

“Three years after we passed the most significant health care law since the creation of Medicare, American families are reaping the benefits. Today, patients have access to preventive care without co-pays, women can receive necessary screenings and birth control with no out-of-pocket costs, insurance companies can no longer drop coverage for sick people or raise premiums at will, and people with preexisting conditions finally have access to health insurance. Just last year, 800,000 Iowans with private health insurance and 350,000 Iowa seniors on Medicare received free preventive services.

“Iowans and all Americans are getting used to these new benefits, but there are still more to come. The centerpiece of the ACA, the state-based health insurance exchanges, will serve as a gateway to affordable, quality health insurance for tens of millions of Americans. The private health insurance market has traditionally been very expensive and difficult to navigate for individuals and small businesses, so the insurance exchanges will pool their purchasing power and put them on equal footing with large companies and the federal government. Additionally, the recently-released benefits package that all insurance plans will have to offer will mean that plans will not just be affordable, but will provide reliable, comprehensive coverage that families can depend on.

“Even as we move forward to implement the ACA and help Americans access its benefits, there are still some in Congress who stubbornly refuse to accept reality. The Supreme Court has ruled that the law is constitutional, and states are moving ahead to build their insurance exchanges—but just this week, the Senate voted down several amendments aimed at undoing the progress we have made. The Republicans’ obsession with repealing the new health reform law is not based on budget considerations; in fact, the Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the ACA would add more than $100 billion to the deficit in the next ten years.  It is based strictly on ideology.  They oppose the law’s crackdown on abuses by health insurance companies.  And they oppose any serious effort by the federal government to secure health insurance coverage for tens of millions of Americans who currently have none.  The old battles have been fought, and the American people have spoken. It is time to move forward—not to be dragged backward—to create a reformed health care system that works not just for the healthy and wealthy, but for all Americans.”

To learn more about how the Affordable Care Act is improving health care for Iowans, click here: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/information-for-you/ia.html

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