Four years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It ushered in significant change. More than 5 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the state and federal marketplaces alone. About 105 million Americans have received access to free preventive services, including nearly 50 million women who can now access contraception and cancer screenings with no copay. Up to 129 million Americans living with a pre-existing condition, including nearly 8 million in my home state of Florida, including myself, now have the peace of mind knowing that we can’t be denied coverage or charged higher premiums because of a pre-existing condition.
But more important than the statistics or the numbers, are the worry lines that are gone from the faces of people who breathe a little bit easier, whose budgets are a little bit less constrained, and whose worries have abated because of a guarantee of coverage. So many women have beckoned me over to tell me in a whisper that they put off getting a lump checked by a doctor because they were afraid it might turn out to be cancer, and they wouldn’t be able to afford the treatment. No one should have to live with that fear and we will not go back.
This is about more than politics; it’s about the values of our country. The Republican obsession over repealing and sabotaging the health care law must stop – this is not what the people who elected us are looking for or what they deserve. We have so much important work to get done in Washington. We must move forward and continue to educate Americans and businesses about the benefits of the health care law, from protecting against discrimination because of a pre-existing condition, to accessing preventive care such as mammograms and colonoscopies with no co-pays, to closing the Medicare Part D donut hole coverage gap so seniors can save even more on prescription drugs. Democrats are committed to protecting these important benefits and fighting against the irresponsible, and costly, efforts by Republicans to repeal our progress.