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Fourth Anniversary of the Health Care Law

Today is the 4th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law. As a result, millions of Americans now have access to more affordable and higher quality health coverage. Here in Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear made the landmark decision to set up the only state exchange in the South, in accordance with the federal law, keeping Kentucky’s health care system out of the hands of Washington bureaucrats and providing for a healthier Kentucky. Now, more than 321,000 Kentuckians are enrolled in new health coverage through kynect.

Despite millions of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, now having access to affordable health care, often for the first time in their lives, Republicans and their outside groups continue to spend outrageous sums to disseminate misinformation about the law.

But here are the facts:

  • Since enrollment began, more than 5 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the state and federal marketplaces alone. That's more than 5 million Americans who may not have had health insurance, or were looking for better health insurance, and now have it.
  • About 105 million Americans have received access to free preventive services, including nearly 50 million women who now have things like contraception and cancer screenings covered with no copay
  • More than 7 million seniors have already saved an average of over $1000 each on prescription drugs
  • More than 100 million Americans no longer have lifetime caps
  • 17 million kids with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied insurance
  • Young people who are just out of college or looking for their first job can stay on their family’s plan

In Kentucky:

  • 321,932 Kentuckians are enrolled in new health coverage
  • 257,477 have qualified for Medicaid coverage
  • 49 percent of all kynect enrollees are under the age of 35
  • 74,551 have been found eligible for a subsidy to purchase a qualified health plan, some have yet to select a plan
  • Governor Beshear’s decision to expand Medicaid means that individuals making less than $15,856 a year and families of four earning less than $32,499 a year are now eligible for Medicaid, creating nearly 17,000 new jobs and a $15.6 billion positive economic impact on the Commonwealth by 2021.

Regardless of the ACA’s dramatic improvement of health and well-being for millions of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, Republicans have been hellbent on eliminating the benefits offered by the ACA and kynect and scaling back the much-needed progress this country and this Commonwealth have made towards healthcare reform. Republicans in Washington have, in fact, voted more than 50 times to repeal or defund the healthcare law, opting for obstruction over contributing to the discussion on how best to improve healthcare in this country. At their lowest moment, they even shut down the government, causing a $24 billion economic loss.

Despite polling showing resounding disapproval of a Republican alternative to the healthcare law, Kentucky Republicans nonetheless decided to take their cues from Washington a couple of weeks back and hold up the budget process with irrelevant and counterproductive healthcare-related amendments. Therein lies the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans want to take away your right to affordable and quality healthcare; Democrats want to take a law that’s already working, and make it better.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Governor Beshear famously declared to “those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families”: “Get over it, and get out of the way so I can help my people.”

On the 4th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Steve is still right.