Thanks to the leadership and vision of President Obama, for the first time ever more than 90% of Americans have health insurance.
In his weekly address, the President said:
When I took office seven years ago this week, more than 15% of Americans went without health insurance. For folks who did have coverage, insurance companies could deny you coverage or charge you more just because you’d been sick. And too many Americans gave up their dreams of changing jobs or going back to school because they couldn’t risk giving up their employer-based insurance plan.
We’ve changed that. As the Affordable Care Act has taken effect, nearly 18 million Americans have gained coverage. In fact, for the first time ever, more than 90 percent of Americans are covered. Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage or be charged more just because they’ve been sick. 137 million Americans with private insurance are now guaranteed preventive care coverage. We’ve done all this while cutting our deficits and keeping health care inflation to its lowest levels in fifty years. And we’ve begun filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we change jobs, lose a job, go back to school, or start that new business, we can still get coverage.
If you want to know how important that is, just ask an American like Heather Bragg.
Heather’s a small business owner in Bluffton, South Carolina. Last year, she wrote me a letter and told me how, for years, her family had depended on her husband’s job for their insurance. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, her husband Mike had the freedom to switch jobs and join Heather at the small business she’d launched a few years ago.
Through the Health Insurance Marketplace, they found better coverage that actually saved them hundreds of dollars a month. Today, Heather only pays about ten dollars for the asthma inhaler she needs. “For the first time,” Heather wrote, “we’re not living paycheck to paycheck; we’re able to pay our bills and put some money back into savings.” And because Mike doesn’t have to work nights or weekends anymore, he can coach their son’s soccer team and tuck the kids in at night. And you can’t put a price on something like that.
The ACA has given hundreds of millions of Americans something that they didn’t have before. The Affordable Care Act gave patients and consumers rights. All health insurance consumers have expanded protections, no matter what kind of health insurance that they have.
People have not had to sign up for the ACA to get many of the benefits of the reform. Everything from insurance companies no longer being allowed to arbitrarily decide who they will cover and when they can drop a policyholder to taking away the power of an insurance company bureaucrat to play doctor and withhold needed medications from sick people due to cost.
Obamacare is not perfect. There are still 29 million people without coverage, but the number of Americans who are covered has reached a record high thanks to President Obama.
The election of Barack Obama is the reason tens of millions of Americans have health insurance, and hundreds of millions have better coverage.
Elections do have consequences. George W. Bush brought the country two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy and the Great Recession. President Obama’s presidency has featured unprecedented expansion of health insurance coverage, and a new era of diplomacy, and record-setting economic growth.
The Affordable Care Act is one example of how a majority of Americans can change the country with their votes. There would be no ACA without Obama, and there would be no Obama in office without your votes.