In March 2010, President Obama fulfilled a promise that Democrats have pursued for nearly a century: making quality, affordable health care available to all Americans. In all, seven presidents pushed for health reform over the years. Today, we finally are able to make real the principle that every American should have access to quality health care, and no one should go bankrupt just because they get sick.
For decades Democrats have fought for the simple idea that everyone should have some basic security in health care. When President Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, we were finally able to provide that security to America’s seniors. In 2009, President Obama extended SCHIP and Medicaid to cover an additional 4 million children.
But it took nearly a century to extend that basic measure of security to all Americans.
In 2010, despite unanimous opposition from Republicans, Democrats were finally able to pass comprehensive health reform into law.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 16.4 million Americans gained health care coverage and the uninsured rate has been reduced by more than a third. Among the newly insured are 2.3 million young adults who are covered because the Affordable Care Act allows them to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions is now illegal, and nearly 8 in 10 Americans who recently shopped for health insurance in the marketplace could get it for less than $100 per month.
The Affordable Care Act has also allowed states to expand Medicaid to help even more Americans get covered. Twenty-eight states have expanded Medicaid, and Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment has risen 26 percent.
The Affordable Care Act also provides tax credits to small businesses to help offset the costs of employee coverage and tax credits to help families pay for insurance. We are also experiencing health care spending growth at its lowest level in 50 years.
Democrats are proud of this progress and are fighting every day to preserve it for generations to come.