LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) on Saturday lauded the 4th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
President Obama signed the law into effect on March 23, 2010.
"The battle to pass this law ended four years ago, but I am fighting now to make sure everyone in the San Fernando Valley has affordable, quality health insurance," said Cárdenas. "The Affordable Care Act means no American can be kicked off insurance simply because they get sick or have been sick. Millions of seniors see lower prescription drug bills. Most importantly, tens of millions of Americans now live without fear that a broken arm or a bad case of the flu will lead to getting kicked out of their home, unable to feed their family."
Cardenas added that more than 500 families in the Valley have attended one of his free Health Insurance Enrollment Workshops, thanks primarily to outreach from Cárdenas' San Fernando Valley office staff. Most of these families have signed up at the workshop for health insurance.
The congressman also said that in California alone, more than 350,000 seniors have received an average of $930 in discounts to prescription drug medications, thanks to closing a "donut hole" in Medicare Part D drug coverage.
More than eight million Californians now have access to at least one free preventive health care service, such as a mammogram, birth control or immunizations. 16 million Californians who faced insurance discrimination because of pre-existing conditions, like asthma, cancer or diabetes, are now eligible for the same health coverage as those without these diseases, without extra cost.
The congressman also said that more than 1.4 million families received refunds from their health insurance companies as part of a program that ensures that premium dollars go to healthcare, not to insurance company marketing and other non-care expenses.
"Have there been hiccups?" said Cárdenas. "Yes, but now thanks to Covered California, and the millions of California families who have affordable, quality health insurance, those hiccups are covered and so are dozens of preventive and acute care procedures that will make people in this state healthier, while lowering the cost of care. The Affordable Care Act is law, it is working and it is here to stay."
In four years, house Republicans have voted to overturn the act more than 50 times. The votes took more than 80 hours or two weeks of work, say proponents of Obamacare. It takes about $24 million to run Congress every week, estimates say, so proponents of Obamacare say the house has "wasted" about $50 million of taxpayer money.
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act (like Texas congressman Ted Cruz) insist it will be a job killer.
One of the provisions key provisions -- and one of the most controversial -- was the individual insurance mandate requiring everyone to opt in. But Forbes reported that provision started with conservative origins.
The original individual mandate is often credited to Bob Dole, then later Newt Gingrich.
When Mitt Romney passed health care reform in Massachusetts in 2006, Forbes quoted him as saying, "We got the idea from [Newt Gingrich] and [Newt] got it from the Heritage Foundation."
The Heritage Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank.
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