Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law well before my time in Congress, but I am honored to play a role in fighting for these vital programs and the people who benefit from their existence. While Republicans have repeatedly tried to end Medicare as it currently exists, Democrats have taken bold steps to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid. In 1997, President Clinton signed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program which provided 4.6 million children with health care by 2001, and increased the number of children covered by 70 percent in just two years. In 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law which gives every American access to quality affordable health care and improves care for many of those on Medicare and Medicaid.
With President Obama’s reauthorization of CHIP in 2009, the program’s coverage expanded benefits to 11 million children. Under the Affordable Care Act, 34.1 million seniors have already received one or more free preventative care services, 3.1 million young adults remain covered by their parents’ health insurance through the age of 26 and insurance companies have returned more than $1.5 billion to consumers to fulfill the ACA’s mandate that premiums be spent on health care, not administrative costs. Most importantly though, these are just the first of the benefits that consumers will see as full coverage begins in January and every American has access to quality affordable health care.
When Republicans talk about making deep cuts to programs like these, I take it personally. I know how much my constituents rely on these programs and how painful it would be for them to see their benefits reduced. America’s seniors deserve to receive the basic benefits they have earned through a lifetime of work.
Democrats will continue to fight to defend the important promise we made to those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid for quality health care. Take a look at this video showing how Democrats have helped to expand and protect this fundamental American value, and trust me when I say we, as Democrats, will continue the fight to protect these most vital programs.