|WASHINGTON – This week, Rhena Hicks from Norfolk joined former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and health care storytellers from across the country at a roundtable event on Capitol Hill to discuss the critical importance of the Affordable Care Act and the ways it has strengthened and improved health care since it was passed 13 years ago. The Affordable Care Act expanded access to quality, affordable health care. The historic legislation eliminated lifetime caps, expanded Medicaid, and secured protections for millions of people living with pre-existing conditions.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) built on the strong foundation of the ACA by lowering premiums for middle and working class families by an average of $2,400 a year. Thanks to the ACA, more than 21 million Americans have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion, and Medicaid has become a pillar of the American health care system, demonstrating the overwhelming need and desire for affordable health coverage. Access to preventive care has improved health outcomes and reduced economic inequity. The ACA has helped reduce longstanding disparities in coverage rates, improving health care access for children, rural Americans, people with disabilities, and people of color across the nation.
“I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2007 – it was my third day of my freshman year of high school. Thankfully, my dad was in the Navy at the time so I had TRICARE but as I was creeping towards the end of high school, it was getting really scary for what my future was going to look like once I could no longer be on my dad’s insurance. He was starting to put money to the side thinking that we were going to have to pay out of pocket for a lot of not just my insulin, but all the supplies,” said Rhena Hicks. “The ACA allowed me to stay on my dad’s insurance and to live an easier life with Type 1 Diabetes.”
“It’s amazing how many people in the country are affected by type 1 diabetes,” said U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-11), Speaker Emerita of the House responding to Rhena’s story. “Your speaking out is so important, because we would like this to be bipartisan,” Speaker Pelosi added, referring to ongoing efforts to cap insulin copays at $35 a month.
Despite ongoing Republican attacks on health care, Speaker Pelosi, Rhena, and other storytellers from across the country celebrated how President Biden and Democrats in Congress have made historic investments to secure the future of Virginians and American health care. Thanks to their vision and determination, Virginians can now sleep easier at night knowing President Biden and Democrats in Congress are hard at work to expand health coverage and lower health care and prescription drug costs.
You can watch the event here, and learn more about how the Affordable Care Act has lowered health care costs for millions of people here.