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Marking the One Year Anniversary of Health Care Reform Law

April 1, 2011
Press Release
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) delivered the following remarks at a press conference at the Watts Health Center today, marking the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law. Community health leaders from South Central and the South Bay were on hand to talk about the importance of fully funding community health centers, which would be cut under the Republican budget plan: 

"It has been one year since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and what a difference a year makes!

1. Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot drop you if you become sick.

2. Insurance companies can no longer place lifetime limits on your coverage.

3. Insurance companies must now spend at least 80 percent of your premiums on medical services – rather than administrative expenses, profits, and salaries for their CEOs.

4. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions – conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.  This protection will be extended to everyone in 2014.

5. Young adults can remain on their parents' health plan until their 26th birthday.

6. Seniors can receive free preventive care under Medicare, and seniors who are in the "donut hole" now receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs.

7. Small businesses can qualify for tax credits that cover up to 35 percent of the cost of providing health insurance to their workers. 

8. And community health centers, like those who are represented here today, have additional funds to serve millions of low-income and uninsured Americans. 

The Affordable Care Act at long last puts American families and small business owners — not the insurance companies — in control of their health care.

I am sorry to say that my Republican colleagues in Congress are doing everything they can to undo the progress we have made with this historic legislation.  The very first bill the Republican leadership brought before the House of Representatives was a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and every single Republican in the House voted for it.  Fortunately, this bill will never pass the Senate, and it will not be signed by the President. 

But that hasn't stopped the House Republicans.  Their budget for the rest of this fiscal year prohibits the use of any funds to implement the Affordable Care Act, and some of their Members have threatened to shut down the government if this funding prohibition is not included in the 2011 budget.

 The House Republicans' budget also includes drastic cuts in many other critical health programs and services.

• Their budget cuts funding for the National Institutes of Health by $1.6 billion below last year's level and $2.5 billion below the President's request.  That's $2.5 billion less money for cutting-edge research by scientists seeking cures for diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer's disease.

• Their budget cuts funding for health professions by $386 million below the President's request.  That's $386 million less money to train promising young people to become primary care doctors and nurses.  These are good paying jobs for hard-working professionals who want to serve their communities.

• Their budget cuts funding for community health centers by almost $1.3 billion.  That's $1.3 billion less money for the people in this room and others like them to provide basic health services to millions of low-income and uninsured patients throughout the United States.  Many Americans who lost their jobs and their health insurance since the Great Recession began under President George W. Bush depend upon community health centers for their health care.

• Their budget entirely eliminates funding for the Title X Family Planning program, which provides family planning and reproductive health services to more than five million people every year at 4,500 community-based clinics including Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles County, which is also here today.

We cannot allow these drastic budget cuts to become law.  And we cannot allow the Affordable Care Act to be repealed, de-funded, or undermined.  We have come too far and accomplished too much to go backwards.  We must continue to protect patients' rights and guarantee access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans."