Health Reform Law Providing Positive Change for Families, Employers and Governments, Says Sec. Sebelius

Jun 4, 2013 Issues: Education, Early Childhood, Labor, Health Care

WASHINGTON – Despite repeated and false attacks against the Affordable Care Act leveled by opponents, Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius testified today that the implementation of the historic law is on track and already delivering positive results for Americans.

“[The ACA] will provide the opportunity for most to Americans to have access to affordable health plan,” said Sec. Sebelius. “What we are seeing is a transition in the delivery system and in the competitive market so that Americans will have access to health security for themselves and their families…This law has been long overdue for decades.”

The early evidence of the Affordable Care Act is showing that it is having a positive impact on millions of Americans, including more than 3 million young adults being allowed to stay on their parents’ health plan, billions more recovered in Medicare fraud, slower health inflation that has lowered long-term cost estimates, and many millions enjoying new patient protections that put them in charge of their care. In January, the use of a preexisting medical condition to determine health coverage or premium costs will be banned.

“This is all good news and stands in contrast to the claims we’ve been hearing from the other side for three years,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the Education and the Workforce Committee. “Playing politics with the Affordable Care Act has become something of an Olympic sport for the majority. Now is not the time to reverse course and go back to the days where insurance companies were in charge. Our nation’s businesses, families, and our government can’t afford it.”

In addition, beginning in October, Americans without access to affordable insurance will be able to shop for a health plan in a transparent marketplace for the first time. In the states that have published the 2014 health insurance premiums so far, insurance companies are offering affordable premiums, many of which lower than many opponents of the law have predicted. For instance, California’s published premiums have come in at save level or much lower than plans today with comparable benefits.

Members of the committee also discussed the importance of President Obama’s child care and early education proposals, and efforts to prevent automatic spending cuts to these programs through sequestration. For instance, the sequester cut about $400 million from Head Start this fiscal year, which is estimated to remove approximately 70,000 children and families from comprehensive preschool services.

“When there were threats of waits for members of Congress at airports, we broke a land-speed record and passed legislation to stop it. However, when it comes to 70,000 kids’ future, the urgency restore these cuts haven’t received a committee hearing, let alone a vote,” said Miller. “These kids can’t afford to lose access to Head Start. I hope we can get past this fiscal cliff politics and restore funding to this and other very important programs.”

The president’s early education and child care proposal would provide greater access to high-quality preschool, child care, and voluntary home visitation for parents of newborns that are proven ways to close achievement gaps and strengthen school readiness.

“These programs and proposals have received bipartisan support in the past. And they should have bipartisan support today and in the future,” said Rep. Miller.