Statements and Speeches
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement regarding the committee’s hearing on “The Affordable Care Act at Five Years."
"Five years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act and less than two years after the state health care marketplaces opened, it is clear that the law is helping millions of Americans find high-quality health coverage. This week, new estimates were released showing the largest drop in the nation’s uninsured rate in four decades. More than 16 million Americans who were uninsured before the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect are now covered thanks to the law, driving the percentage of uninsured adults down to 13.2 percent from more than 20 percent. These are huge accomplishments.
"In my own state of Delaware, tens of thousands of residents have found affordable coverage through the state marketplace. Expanding our Medicaid program has covered 10,000 more individuals and 6,000 of our young adults who would otherwise not have insurance can now stay on their parents' plans until age 26. The law is closing Medicare's 'doughnut hole' prescription coverage gap, saving Delaware seniors more than $74 million on their prescription medications – that’s more than $1,000 per beneficiary.
"But it hasn't been only the uninsured who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. Reforms enacted by the law have resulted in more comprehensive coverage that includes preventive care and other essential benefits with no co-pays, removing a longtime barrier that kept many people from going to the doctor. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions or drop a person when he or she gets sick. These critical changes to our health care system have given patients confidence that they can depend on their coverage when they need it.
"The Affordable Care Act is also working to make our system more efficient by incentivizing better health care while slowing the growth of health care costs. Just last week, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that medical care savings with the Affordable Care Act have already lowered the 10-year projected cost of the law by 11 percent. In Delaware, we're using a $35 million federal grant – which was awarded through the reform law – to improve primary care and encourage providers and insurers to focus on the quality and affordability of care, over the volume of care. America spends more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation, and not necessarily with better results given our level of chronic disease and shorter life expectancy, so this shift to paying for quality is very necessary and promising.
"However, I always say, 'if it isn’t perfect, make it better,' and that is no different with health care reform. I believe there is common ground we can and should find to make improvements to the law. I plan to work my colleagues on this committee and others who are interested in pursuing bipartisan compromises to make this good law even better."