I am proud that I was a part of the first time in American history we passed a comprehensive health care reform bill to ensure all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care, while having the added benefit of significantly reducing long-term health care costs.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law on March 23, 2010. This law was a critical step toward ensuring that all Americans, including millions of Floridians, have access to quality, affordable health care.
Unfortunately, since its inception, there has been a lot of misinformation and misrepresentation of the Affordable Care Act. I strongly support the ACA because of the real impact it is having on-the-ground.
The fact is that millions of people that were uninsured before the ACA now have health insurance. Nationwide, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that 16.4 million previously uninsured Americans have gained health coverage since the ACA became law, far exceeding the President’s projected health care plan enrollment.
With the second-highest rate of uninsured residents in the U.S., Floridians in particular have gained a lot from this law. In 2015, more than 1.6 million Floridians were re-enrolled or signed up for a health care plan through HealthCare.gov — the highest enrollment of any state using a federally-facilitated marketplace.
The ACA is greatly reducing the rate of those uninsured in our state by making health care more affordable for many Floridians through health care subsidies and reduced costs. An estimated 1.3 million Floridians qualify for financial assistance to purchase health insurance through the ACA and, according to HHS, 93 percent of Floridians with a marketplace plan could select a plan for $100 or less per month.
The ACA is also providing more expansive and affordable coverage for the people who often need it the most which ultimately benefits all of us. Women can no longer be charged higher premiums just for being a woman, Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be dropped from insurance plans, and the Medicare Part D "donut hole" is closing, providing immediate relief to South Floridian seniors who were at risk of falling into this coverage gap. In 2014, 110,591 seniors and people with disabilities in Florida saved $87 million — about $788 per beneficiary — because of expanded drug coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The numbers speak for themselves — there is demand for affordable health care and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more and more Floridians are finding that they now have access to quality coverage. That is why efforts to repeal or defund the ACA are not productive in working toward quality, more affordable healthcare for all Americans. I am committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to continue making meaningful improvements to our health care system based on facts and real life impact, not political rhetoric.
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