U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman hailed the Supreme Court's affirmation of the Affordable Care Act as a "tremendous victory" Thursday. The congressman was one of the bill's main architects.
"This is the end of the challenge in the courts," Waxman said in the statement. "I hope it also marks the beginning of cooperation in the Congress to assure that what is now clearly the constitutional law of the land will have the support it needs to be implemented promptly and effectively for the American people."
Waxman, a Democrat, represents many Westside and Valley communities. He guided the bill to approval by the Energy and Commerce Committee while he was chairman.
In a March interview with Southern California Public Radio, Waxman predicted the court would uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
"I can’t believe that Chief Justice Roberts wants to preside over a court that will be looked at in history as a partisan Republican court," Waxman told Southern California Public Radio. "If they say the Congress and the executive cannot pass legislation to provide health care for Americans, I would think that would be the final straw for many people."
Waxman highlighted the fact that many of the Act's provisions are now in effect, including savings on prescription medications for seniors, allowing young adults to remain on a parent's policy until the age of 26, and the end of lifetime limits on care.
Waxman's complete statement is here:
The decision by the Supreme Court today is first and foremost a tremendous victory for the American people. The decision to affirm the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act assures that over 30 million Americans who have not had health care coverage will have it. It assures that no one with a preexisting health condition can be refused insurance coverage or be charged more because of their health condition. It stops for good the practice of insurance companies charging women more for health care coverage simply because they are women.
The benefits of this law are many, and many of them are in effect already. Millions of Americans now have access to free preventive benefits. Over 105 million Americans today no longer face lifetime limits on their insurance policies. Seniors have already saved more than $3.7 billion on their drugs due to the closing of the donut hole. And millions of young adults now have access to coverage under their parents’ insurance policies, so they have health security while they establish themselves in the work place.
The law provides tax credits to help individuals pay for affordable, quality insurance. It provides tax credits to small businesses to cover their employees. It will create open and transparent exchanges to help people shop for the best and most affordable policy for them. And it takes many important steps to help control health care costs, emphasize prevention of disability and illness, and increase the number of primary care physicians.
Many Congresses, and many Presidents, have tried for decades to give health security to all Americans. The 111th Congress and President Obama achieved that with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. And today, Chief Justice Roberts and a majority of the Court recognized that was the appropriate role for the Congress and that it exercised that authority in a way that met the requirements of the Constitution.
In regard to the Medicaid provisions, it should be clear that the Court affirmed the constitutionality of providing health care coverage through Medicaid for all persons up to 133% of poverty. It did conclude that no state could lose all of its funds for its current Medicaid program if it chose not to select this option. But the major point is that 100% federal funding remains available to assist states in providing this coverage, and states will seize the opportunity to do so.
This is the end of the challenge in the courts. I hope it also marks the beginning of cooperation in the Congress to assure that what is now clearly the constitutional law of the land will have the support it needs to be implemented promptly and effectively for the American people.
Waxman represents Agoura Hills, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas, Century City, Chatsworth, Malibu, Northridge, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Tarzana, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Westwood and Woodland Hills.
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