City Councilwoman Helen Gym and others held a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and outline how Congress can build on it.
Gym was joined by For Our Future PA, Protect Our Care PA, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network and Family Friendly Pennsylvania.
They argued that the law’s provisions have lowered costs, expanded access to care, eliminated lifetime caps, expanded Medicaid and secured protections for millions living with pre-existing conditions.
“The Affordable Care Act has kept people alive,” Gym said.
Gym supports Medicare for All, noting that about 10 percent of Americans are uninsured. She doesn’t believe health care should be tied only to employment.
The councilwoman wants Congress to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer money being used for abortions. She wants an expansion of preventive services for dental, vision and hearing, home health care for the elderly and disabled and paid family and medical leave.
Gym is calling for a grassroots effort to improve the ACA aka Obamacare.
“When the people lead the fight, the politics will follow,” she said. “Make the ACA the start, not the end.”
Robin Stelly, of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, said, “We live in a better world because of the Affordable Care Act.”
Republicans have generally supported the provision allowing for insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.
However, they opposed the overall plan and were joined in voting against the ACA by 34 House Democrats in 2010. The GOP used Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s infamous comment that, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, ” on the campaign trail and gained six seats in the Senate and 63 in the House, along with six governors and 20 legislative chambers.
President Barack Obama insisted that, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.” But, in 2013, millions of Americans with individual policies had their plans terminated, and PolitiFact later named Obama’s statement as the “Lie of the Year.”
Twelve years later, polls show that Americans approve of the ACA by a margin of about 3-to-2. ••