Transcript: Pelosi celebrates Affordable Care Act anniversary

Remarks by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2012:

“Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for being with us today.

“As you know, two years ago, the Congress of the United States made history.  After 100 years of trying, finally, we passed health care for all Americans as a right for all, not just a privilege for a few.  It honored the vows of our founders, of life – healthier life, liberty, the freedom to pursue our own happiness.

“Today, we have people with us who are already benefiting, or will benefit, from the health care bill.  I am pleased to be here with my colleagues, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn, and we will join together in presenting our guests to you.  And a special – grandpapa.  Is that it?  Calling you from the audience, your grandson.  That is what it is all about.  I would like to thank our friends, Bob Meeks, Brian England, Felicia Willems, Elizabeth Bartenstein, and Carmen Morales, for being with us.

“Imagine, and this is not hard to do, being a parent who has a child with a pre-existing medical condition, like asthma or diabetes, driving medical bills through the roof and forcing you to choose between paying the mortgage and paying the next doctor’s appointment.

“Imagine being a college senior getting ready for graduation, looking forward to a successful career, but you cannot accept your dream job because they don’t offer health insurance.

“Imagine being a senior who relies on Medicare for your health and economic security, but faces rising costs each year for preventive care and prescription drugs.

“Or a woman charged higher premiums, yes, women are, to the tune of a billion dollars more, higher premiums than men for the same coverage.

“Or a worker locked in a dead end job, unable to pursue your professional passion for fear of losing your insurance.

“For too long these examples were not simply a matter of imagination; they were a matter of reality faced by millions of Americans.  But that all changed for the better with health insurance reform, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act.  We made history passing the bill for Congress.  We made progress for the American people.

“Imagine, Republicans want to turn back the clock and take away this progress from the American people.  And they will be voting next week to do so over and over again.  They keep bringing up, one way or another, to unravel it.  In their budget, they will be voting on this, to end the Medicare guarantee, making seniors pay more for benefits.  Already, the American people are seeing enormous benefits: 86 million Americans have received key preventive health care benefits under the law.  For the first time in American history, millions of American women have access to free preventive health care.  Today, no child in America is denied health coverage because of a preexisting medical condition.  And more than 5 million seniors have saved over $3.2 billion in prescription drug benefits.  Imagine, 86 million Americans have already benefited from this, and the full bill has yet to go into effect.”


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