State Lawmakers Laud Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act
HARRISBURG, June 28, 2012 — The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision today to uphold the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have a profoundly positive impact on Pennsylvanians, according to Democratic state lawmakers.
As lawmakers continue to examine the entire decision to fully understand the implications for the state, they said the state legislature should get to work soon to ensure that the impending provisions are implemented appropriately in Pennsylvania, said state Sen. Shirley Kitchen, the Democratic chair of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee; state Sen. Mike Stack, the Democratic chair of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee; and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa.
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“The health care debate highlighted the overall need for access to adequate healthcare, so this ruling is a monumental day for Pennsylvanians and all Americans. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the president’s health care law will have a dramatic impact, especially for those who can’t afford or have been denied health coverage,” said Kitchen (D-Phila). “Now we must take the steps to make sure we are in compliance with the law. Millions of Pennsylvanians are depending on it.”
“Healthy Pennsylvanians are productive, successful Pennsylvanians, and the law provides health protections as well as peace of mind,” said Stack (D-Phila.) “While the Supreme Court ruling is good news, it’s just the beginning of a long road ahead to examine its impact on Pennsylvania and to ensure that the health care law works here. I look forward to being a part of the process that helps implement the laws in the commonwealth.”
Stack has introduced legislation that would create the commonwealth’s health insurance exchange and put Pennsylvania consumers in a position to purchase health insurance through the exchange starting on Jan. 1, 2014.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa said the ruling guarantees life-saving reforms that will improve the quality of life for many Pennsylvanians.
“The Supreme Court made the correct decision. The reform provides access to health care for millions of Pennsylvanians, from college students, to those with pre-existing conditions, seniors who have high prescription costs and others,” said Costa (D-Allegheny). “The reforms provide life-saving access to health care for all Americans.”
Millions of Pennsylvanians benefit under the law, including 1.4 million uninsured Pennsylvanians; 2.1 million Pennsylvanians who have pre-existing medical conditions; and 4.5 million Pennsylvanians who have had lifetime limits on benefits removed.
Nationally, more than 54 million individuals with private health insurance, including more than 20 million women, have received preventative health care at no cost, and 5 million seniors on Medicare have saved an average of $635 each on prescription drugs.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania law already had health care protections. Under the law, children up to age 29 are covered under their parents’ insurance, compared to the Affordable Care Act’s provision to cover children up to age 26. The state’s CHIP Covers All Kids program ensures that all children qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, no matter their family’s income level. The law also requires the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plans act as an insurer of last resort for individuals regardless of pre-existing conditions.