Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Today’s decision creates a clear path forward. We must now focus on how to best deliver affordable, high-quality health care for every American.
“In 2009, Congress set out to fix our broken health care system because the status quo was unacceptable. We took on this problem because America could not afford a health system that rationed care depending on wealth, gave insurance company bureaucrats final say over life and death decisions, and weighed down our economic competitiveness like an anchor.
“After a year of debate, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President. This bill, while imperfect, made five major improvements to our current health care system.
- Preventive Care – The bill greatly expanded access to preventive care, adding 15 million people that previously did not have health insurance to Medicaid, ending the “donut hole” that left many seniors unable to afford medications, and providing grants to build or expand health care clinics across the country.
- Workforce – To meet the needs of the newly insured, as well as to replace the retiring baby boomers in crucial medical fields, such as primary care and nursing, the bill expanded training programs for health professionals.
- Marketplaces – The bill created one-stop shops so families and small businesses can compare plans and prices to find the best heath care fit for themselves and join together to get better deals.
- Small Business – The bill sent checks to small businesses to make it more affordable to offer health insurance for their workers.
- Health Care Bill of Rights – The bill ensured that as a health care consumer, you had certain rights – that no insurance company can deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition, that kids up to age 26 are able to stay on their parents’ insurance policies, that women won’t be charged more than men, that policies won’t cut you off with arbitrary lifetime limits, and that insurance companies can’t kick you off your policy when you get sick!
“As a result of today’s decision, we have the chance to deliver these important advances for America’s families and business and to implement a vision of affordable, accessible health care for all Americans. No one should go bankrupt if they get sick. Everyone should have access to preventive care in order to live healthy, productive lives. I look forward to working with Governor Kitzhaber and other Oregon policymakers to put in place these important reforms for all Oregonians.”