Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks today at a press conference with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership marking the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law, which is this Saturday, the 23rd. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
“I’m glad to be here with Alycia and with the other guests as well – thank you very much for being here.
“Three years ago, Congress enacted, as you know, health care reform that is already having a very positive impact on millions of lives. The Affordable Care Act not only allows more Americans to access quality, affordable insurance, it also allows small businesses to provide affordable coverage to their employees. The Affordable Care Act has already started to help slow the growth of health care costs throughout our system. Upon enactment, small businesses gained access to a new tax credit that helps them provide more affordable insurance to their employees. In the first year alone, 360,000 small businesses claimed that credit, benefitting more than 2 million Americans already. That tax credit will grow next year.
“And, next year, small businesses can also take advantage of the new state-based marketplaces where they can shop for competitively-priced insurance to offer their employees. That’s what the free-market system is all about. The opportunity to select the most quality and most cost-effective policy.
“The Affordable Care Act has also contributed to the slowed growth of health care costs we’ve seen in recent years, thanks to policies that promote increased efficiency and higher quality. In 2011, overall health care spending in our country grew by only 3.9 percent, the lowest rate in over half a century. Last year, Medicare costs growth increased by only four tenths of a percent, continuing the historically low Medicare growth we saw in 2011 and 2010. Spending in Medicaid actually decreased 1.9 percent from 2011 to 2012. And last summer, insurance companies that didn’t spend at least 80 percent of their premium dollars on providing health care had to issue $1.1 billion in rebates to their beneficiaries.
“Despite more than 30 attempts by Republicans to repeal this law – over and over and over again – the Affordable Care Act is already working: constraining costs growth and helping more Americans and small businesses access quality, affordable coverage.
“Now I want to introduce a young woman from my state of Maryland, in fact, Towson, Maryland, where my wife, as I told her, went to Towson University. Alycia Steinberg, from Towson, Maryland. Alycia, thank you very much for joining us.”