[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 47 (Wednesday, March 21, 2012)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E404-E405]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          AFFORDABLE CARE ACT


                         HON. LAURA RICHARDSON

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, March 21, 2012

  Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the second 
anniversary of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable 
Care Act. In the two years since its enactment, the Affordable Care Act 
has been good for seniors, good for women, good for small businesses, 
and good for all Americans.
  As the Affordable Care Act is implemented, it will continue to expand 
access to affordable, quality health care for over 30 million Americans 
and will work to reign in the ever-escalating costs of health care. 
Passage of the Affordable Care Act was a major step toward fulfilling 
the promise all Americans were pledged: the promise of unalienable 
rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which quality 
healthcare embodies.
  For the people I represent in the 37th District of California, the 
Affordable Care Act will improve coverage for 299,000 residents who 
already have insurance. It will give tax credits and other assistance 
to up to 146,000 families and 15,100 small businesses to help them 
afford coverage. Health care reform will also improve Medicare for 
63,000 beneficiaries in my district, including closing the prescription 
drug ``donut hole'' once and for all.
  In 2010, the Affordable Care Act made it possible for 354,592 
Medicare beneficiaries in California to receive a $250 rebate to help 
cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut 
hole. In 2011, 319,429 Medicare beneficiaries received a 50 percent 
discount--an average savings of $538 per person--on brand-name 
prescription drugs when they hit the coverage gap. That's a total 
savings of over $171 million for seniors in California alone! In my 
district, 3,200 seniors received prescription drug discounts worth $1.5 
million, an average discount of $460 per senior.
  The Affordable Care Act extends coverage to 92,500 uninsured 
residents of the 37th District and will guarantee that 17,500 residents 
with pre-existing conditions can obtain the health insurance they need. 
Since enactment, health care reform has extended insurance coverage to 
5,599 Californians through the new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance 
  The Affordable Care Act protects 1,100 families from bankruptcy due 
to unaffordable health care costs and currently allows 59,000 young 
adults to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans. The new 
law provides millions of dollars in new funding for 11 community health 
centers in my district. And finally, it will reduce the cost of 
uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by 
$125 million annually.
  Mr. Speaker, as we approach the two year anniversary of the enactment 
of the Affordable Care Act, an attack on women's access to affordable, 
quality, and necessary healthcare services is underway. From the 
comments made by Rush Limbaugh about Georgetown Law Student Sandra 
Fluke, to Republican attempts to roll back coverage and restrict access 
to birth control, the GOP's war on women stands in stark contrast 
to the Administration's goal of ensuring that women have access to the 
healthcare services they need to remain healthy.

  As a female Member of Congress, I understand that women have unique 
health care needs, and are often the ones who make health care 
decisions for their families. I voted for and strongly support the 
Affordable Care Act because it provides important benefits for women 
and their families. The Affordable Care Act helps women by eliminating 
the discriminatory gender rating system, making sure that insurance 
companies do not consider pregnancy grounds for denying coverage, and 
doing away with all pre-existing conditions.
  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all Americans joining new 
insurance plans have the freedom to choose from any primary care 
provider, OB-GYN, or pediatrician in their health plan's network, or 
emergency care outside of the plan's network, without a referral. Under 
the Affordable Care Act, women joining a new health care plan can 
receive recommended preventive services, like mammograms, new baby care 
and well-child visits, and an annual wellness visit with no out-of-
pocket costs. In 2011, over 6 million people with private insurance 
coverage in California gained preventative service coverage with no 
cost sharing as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
  Before enactment of the Affordable Care Act, women could be charged 
more for individual insurance policies simply because of their gender. 
A 22-year-old woman could be charged 150 percent the premium that a 22-
year-old man paid. In 2014, insurers will not be able to charge women 
higher premiums than they charge men. The law takes strong action to 
control health care costs, including helping states crack down on 
excessive premium increases and making sure most of your premium 
dollars go toward your health care.
  The Affordable Care Act also allows young adults under the age of 26 
to stay on their parents' health insurance plan. This provision has 
expanded access to health insurance coverage for 2.5 million young 
people nationwide. In my district, 7,000 young adults have taken 
advantage of this provision and are now covered under their parents' 

[[Page E405]]

  This week, the House will consider a bill to repeal the Independent 
Payment Advisory Board established under the Affordable Care Act. 
Having previously garnered bipartisan support, the majority's decision 
to attach a medical liability provision to the underlying piece of 
legislation amounts to nothing short of a partisan ploy to score points 
with their base.
  The language attached to the bill would place caps on medical 
malpractice awards for pain and suffering at $250,000 and would 
override most state tort laws. Unfortunately, the majority's decision 
to include tort reform language on a completely unrelated measure 
demonstrates their refusal to work with Members across the aisle in 
order to further strengthen the Affordable Care Act.
  Mr. Speaker, the Affordable Care Act provides American families with 
stability and peace of mind. Never again will they have to choose 
between their health and their livelihood. As a result of the 
Affordable Care Act, 23,000 children and 90,000 adults in my district 
now have health insurance that covers preventive services without 
paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
  I am proud to be a part of this historic health care policy change, 
and to be part of the days ahead in which we will work to further 
strengthen it.