Washington, DC – On June 28, Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act:
“I am pleased that the highest court in the land has ruled that the Affordable Care Act in its entirety is constitutional. I believe not only in the constitutionality of the law, but the right—not the privilege—of quality healthcare for all. For far too long, access to healthcare has been in the hands of those who value money over lives. I commend President Obama for leading the charge for this change.
"This past March we celebrated the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, just as the Supreme Court prepared to hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of this important and critical law. The Affordable Care Act provides access to all our nation's communities and brings compassion back into the healthcare equation.
"As members of the Congressional Black Caucus, we endured hateful attacks and contentious meetings, but remained steadfast in our commitment and efforts to reform our healthcare system. Before the Affordable Care Act, 1 in 5 African Americans lacked health insurance, one of the highest rates for any community. Since March 2009, 2.4 million African Americans seniors with Medicare have received free preventive services. Another 5.5 million African Americans with private health insurance now have expanded coverage for preventive services at no additional cost. 410,000 African American young adults who would otherwise be uninsured have gained coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. Nearly every aspect of the Affordable Care Act positively impacts minority communities--protecting those with preexisting conditions, ensuring dependent coverage, providing vital preventive services and care, making healthcare affordable for small businesses, bringing more doctors and nurses to chronically underserved communities, and increasing Medicare benefit coverage. Nearly all of the 44 million Medicare beneficiaries are now eligible to receive preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies, as well as annual wellness visits with their physicians. Preventive services are essential for all Americans.
“From the very beginning, the Republican Leadership attacked the Affordable Care Act by focusing on repealing patients' rights and keeping insurance companies in control. As I have said before, they seek to defund, and we seek to defend. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would have a devastating impact on all Americans, especially those in our most vulnerable communities. The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the provisions that protect and provide for Americans in need. We will not stand by and allow our communities’ rights to be trampled. We remain committed to seeing the full implementation of healthcare reform all across this great nation. Our history has taught us that one setback cannot stop the fight for justice. As Theodore Parker said, 'the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.' We've come too far to turn back now."