AUGUSTA – On the 12th anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the bipartisan Affordable Care Act into law, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, released the following statement celebrating the historic law and calling for continued efforts to lower health care costs for all Americans:
“Access to quality, affordable health care is a deeply personal and emotional issue because it can be the difference between living a long, healthy life or sudden death. That may sound dramatic, but if you’ve gone without health insurance for periods of your life, you know what it’s like to make tough choices. Do you put your health or family’s financial well-being at risk? These are choices that no one should have to make. But before the Affordable Care Act, that was the reality for many of my friends in the logging industry, and some really good people paid the price with their life.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Affordable Care Act because it was a game-changer for families and industries like mine, where employer-sponsored health care wasn’t an option and the cost of a private plan was a joke. It gave Mainers the option of health care coverage outside of their work, giving folks the freedom to start businesses, change jobs or remain in their line of work. But more than that, it made sure health insurance companies couldn’t discriminate against folks with pre-existing conditions and actually covered the basics, instead of pulling the rug out from under patients when they needed care most.
“As we celebrate the ACA, state and federal lawmakers must double-down on efforts to ensure that working families and older Mainers can get the quality, affordable health care they deserve. That means standing up to ‘Big Pharma’ on prescription drug prices, reining in health care costs and fighting back against efforts to erode health care coverage through the sale of sham insurance plans and discrimination against preexisting conditions. After 12 years of the ACA, we can’t afford to go backward. Mainers and Americans deserve better.”