March 21, 2013
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“In Nevada alone, tens of thousands of seniors have saved tens of millions of dollars on medicines because the Affordable Care Act closed the gap in prescription drug coverage.”
“But health reform is not only saving money – it’s saving lives.”
“In the richest nation in the world no insurance company will ever again put a price tag on a human life.”
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding Saturday’s anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Three years ago, President Barack Obama signed into law the greatest single step in generations toward ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare for every American – the Affordable Care Act.
Millions of Americans are already benefitting from Obamacare. Insurance companies can no longer set arbitrary lifetime caps on benefits, putting millions of Americans one car accident or heart attack away from bankruptcy. Today children can no longer be denied insurance because they are born with a disease or a disability, a protection that will soon extend to all Americans. And soon being a woman will no longer be considered a pre-existing condition.
In less than a year, 129 million Americans with preexisting conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes can rest assured they’ll have access to affordable insurance and life-saving care – regardless of their health or how much money they make.
In Nevada alone, tens of thousands of seniors have saved tens of millions of dollars on medicines because the Affordable Care Act closed the gap in prescription drug coverage.
But health reform is not only saving money – it’s saving lives.
Just ask 26-year-old Sarah Coffey, a native of Gardnerville, Nevada. Sarah was halfway through her first year of law school at the University of Connecticut when she was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s disease.
Sarah had done everything right. When she enrolled at UConn, she bought the best student insurance plan money could buy and paid for it a year in advance. But her cancer – and the difficult treatment to fight it – made returning to school last fall impossible.
Since Sarah was no longer a student, she no longer qualified for student health insurance. And her policy was about to expire. Without an expensive bone marrow transplant, she might die.
Before the Affordable Care Act became law, Sarah would have been one of the tens of millions of Americans who desperately needed life-saving care, but didn’t have insurance to pay for it. Before the Affordable Care Act, Sarah might even have become one of the 45,000 Americans who died each year because they lacked health insurance.
But thanks to Obamacare, Sarah was able to sign on to her parents’ insurance plan. Sarah is one of 3.1 million young people – including 33,000 young Nevadans – who have benefited from a provision in the law that allows children to stay on their parents’ health plans until they are 26 years old.
And I’m pleased to report that Sarah’s story has a happy ending. She got the treatment she needed. Her most recent PET scan was clear. And Sarah plans to return to law school in September.
Sarah’s mother, Sue, sent me a letter in January. She wrote that Obamacare and the dedicated doctors at Stanford Hospital saved her daughter’s life.
This is the legacy of the landmark law: that no American will end up in an emergency room because he has no insurance, that no American will live in fear of losing her insurance because she loses her job and that in the richest nation in the world no insurance company will ever again put a price tag on a human life.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “The care of human life and happiness… is the first and only object of good government.” I am gratified that the Affordable Care Act meets that standard. And I am proud that this law, which we worked so hard to pass, is already ensuring the care of human life remains the first object of this government.