Here’s my simple belief – in the most powerful, affluent country in the world, nobody should die or go bankrupt simply because they have the misfortune of getting sick and not having enough money to see a doctor. Today, America spends twice as much on average on health care, per capita, as other wealthy countries, but we get results that simply don’t warrant all that extra expenditure.
The Affordable Care Act was a first step toward fixing this broken system. It’s no secret that health care costs have been increasing at an unsustainable rate in our country, and skyrocketing prices mean that fewer Americans receive the care and services they need. But in the years since the law’s passage, the Affordable Care Act has worked to bring down costs and help millions of Americans get covered. The law enabled millions of Americans to get health insurance – including more than 115,000 in Connecticut - improved Medicare for the over 600,000 beneficiaries in Connecticut, provided free preventive and wellness care to all Americans, and allowed young people to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26.
When President Trump was first elected, he and leaders of the Republican Congress made it clear that one of their top priorities was to repeal the Affordable Care Act for good. I was proud to stand with the millions of Americans who spoke out against Republican attempts to repeal the law. The Republican plan would have stripped health care from millions of families, caused premiums to spike and endangered people with pre-existing conditions. And while that bill ultimately failed on the Senate floor, efforts by the Trump administration to sabotage the law continue. President Trump’s threats to upend the exchanges created uncertainty in the marketplace and drove up costs. The repeal of the individual mandate removed one of the central pillars of the law. The Trump administration also announced that they will allow insurers to sell longer “junk plans,” which can discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and may not cover all of the services that people need. This sabotage has hurt Connecticut - premiums have gone up by double digits and people are nervous about the future of their health care.
I am committed to working across the aisle to stabilize the insurance marketplaces, and it is my hope that we can continue to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. It’s clear Congress must do more to help lower health care costs and make prescription drugs more affordable. But we must also consider what the future of our healthcare system will look like. That’s why I partnered with Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon to introduce the Choose Medicare Act, a bill that would allow every American and every American business to buy in to Medicare. For those who think that Medicare is the right plan for all Americans, this bill puts that theory to the test and allows consumers and businesses to decide whether they want to remain on private insurance or switch to Medicare. I think, if given the opportunity to buy in to the most cost-effective, popular health plan in the country, the majority of Americans will choose Medicare.
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