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March 23, 2012

Statement from Victoria Reggie Kennedy on the 2nd Anniversary of Health Care Reform

Statement of Victoria Reggie Kennedy, President of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute Board, on the 2nd Anniversary of the Signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Today [March 23, 2012] is the second anniversary of President Obama’s signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and making health care reform the law of the land.

Presidents had tried for 100 years to reform health care in this country. Congress had tried. My husband Ted Kennedy called reforming health care and making it affordable and accessible the cause of his life. But President Obama was the president who made it happen. And because of his leadership and the hard work of the Congress of the United States, millions of Americans have experienced first-hand the important benefits and economic security it provides.

Under the law, Americans can keep their own doctor and their existing health plan if they like it. But they also get added protections, such as:

Free preventive care – now, patients can have free preventive care – no co-pay and no deductible or other out-of-pocket costs – for life saving screenings like mammograms and prostate exams, colonoscopies, blood pressure screening, cholesterol and diabetes testing.

Young people can stay on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26 so they can still have health insurance coverage if they are between jobs or in a job without benefits.

Children can no longer be denied health insurance because they have asthma or diabetes or allergies or have a disability or any other pre-existing condition.

Seniors are already seeing a difference in their bottom line because of increased prescription drug coverage and the so-called “donut hole” will continue to get smaller until it is finally closed under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel a policy when you get sick and need coverage the most or limit your lifetime insurance coverage.

These are changes that impact the quality of lives today. And what a difference these changes have made.

Small businesses are already getting a tax credit to help provide health insurance to their employees and the amount that credit will increase over the next couple of years.

And millions of individuals who can’t afford health insurance will be eligible for tax credits to help them purchase the insurance the need.

For more than 40 years, my husband fought for quality, affordable for health care for all Americans as a right and not a privilege. Thanks to President Obama and the Senate and House of Representatives, the Affordable Care Act brings us closer than ever to achieving that goal.

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