President Obama on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold Obamacare

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensures hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve and protects every American from the worst insurance company abuses.

Speaking from the White House today, President Obama said:

“Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act—the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America—in the wealthiest nation on Earth—no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.

“I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost. That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.

“And because this law has a direct impact on so many Americans, I want to take this opportunity to talk about exactly what it means for you.

“First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance—this law will only make it more secure and more affordable. Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive. They can no longer discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions. They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms—a provision that’s already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance. And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.

“There’s more. Because of the Affordable Care Act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parent’s health care plans—a provision that’s already helped 6 million young Americans. And because of the Affordable Care Act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs—a discount that’s already saved more than 5 million seniors on Medicare about $600 each.

“All of this is happening because of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions provide common-sense protections for middle class families, and they enjoy broad popular support. And thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue for Americans who already have health insurance.

“Now, if you’re one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from. Each state will take the lead in designing their own menu of options, and if states can come up with even better ways of covering more people at the same quality and cost, this law allows them to do that, too. And I’ve asked Congress to help speed up that process, and give states this flexibility in year one.

“Once states set up these health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a pre-existing health condition. They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman. They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy. If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to get quality, affordable health care as everyone else. And if you can’t afford the premiums, you’ll receive a credit that helps pay for it.

“Today, the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance. This is important for two reasons.

“First, when uninsured people who can afford coverage get sick, and show up at the emergency room for care, the rest of us end up paying for their care in the form of higher premiums.

“And second, if you ask insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, but don’t require people who can afford it to buy their own insurance, some folks might wait until they’re sick to buy the care they need—which would also drive up everybody else’s premiums.

“That’s why, even though I knew it wouldn’t be politically popular, and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the Affordable Care Act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so. In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for President.

“Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive. I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared. And I know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focused on what it means politically.

“Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.

“There’s a framed letter that hangs in my office right now. It was sent to me during the health care debate by a woman named Natoma Canfield. For years and years, Natoma did everything right. She bought health insurance. She paid her premiums on time. But 18 years ago, Natoma was diagnosed with cancer. And even though she’d been cancer-free for more than a decade, her insurance company kept jacking up her rates, year after year. And despite her desire to keep her coverage—despite her fears that she would get sick again—she had to surrender her health insurance, and was forced to hang her fortunes on chance.

“I carried Natoma’s story with me every day of the fight to pass this law. It reminded me of all the Americans, all across the country, who have had to worry not only about getting sick, but about the cost of getting well.

“Natoma is well today. And because of this law, there are other Americans—other sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers—who will not have to hang their fortunes on chance. These are the Americans for whom we passed this law.

“The highest Court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law. And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can. But what we won’t do—what the country can’t afford to do—is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.

“With today’s announcement, it’s time for us to move forward—to implement and, where necessary, improve on this law. And now is the time to keep our focus on the most urgent challenge of our time: putting people back to work, paying down our debt, and building an economy where people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.

“But today, I’m as confident as ever that when we look back five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, we’ll be better off because we had the courage to pass this law and keep moving forward.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America” President Obama said.

Watch and share today’s video.

Learn more about the Health Care Law.

Read today’s Supreme Court decision.

Civil Rights Organizations back Supreme Court Decision on Health Care

Two of the  nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organizations weighed in today on the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to find the Affordable Care Act constitutional. Both LULAC, the nation’s oldest and largest Hispanic civil rights organization and the NAACP, the oldest African American civil rights advocate have long supported expanding affordable health care coverage to all Americans.

In a 5-4 ruling released this morning the high court upheld most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court also partly upheld the provision of the Act which expands the Medicaid program allowing millions of underinsured and underserved Americans to have access to the health care system.

In a statement released this morning LULAC National President Margaret Moran strongly backed the Supreme Court’s decision to let the Health Law stand.

“Today’s decision is a win for the American people as tens of millions of uninsured Americans will gain health care coverage including an estimated 6 million Latinos,” said Moran. “We support the decision of the Supreme Court upholding individual mandates and thereby ensuring that we get closer to universal health care coverage for all.”

LULAC believes that every American has the right to reasonably accessible culturally and linguistically appropriate, quality health care. LULAC has advocated that equality within the health care system is one of the essential human rights issues among the Latino community in this country. There are many provisions in the Affordable Care Act that provide much needed benefits to many Americans and upholding these provisions is central to LULAC’s mission to bridge the divide that allow disparities in health care access to exist.

“Because our community lacks health care access we often don’t seek the preventative measures necessary to limit or avoid the development of life threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer,” continued Moran.

The NAACP also released a statement applauding the decision. In her statement today NAACP Chair Roslyn M. Brock praised the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

“The Supreme Court made a crucial decision today to uphold the core provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” said Brock. “The NAACP has long supported the full and complete implementation of this law. Access to quality, affordable health care is a civil and human right that should not be reserved for the wealthy or the few. The 32 million American men, women and children covered under this law can now breathe easier.”

“Many serious health issues are preventable,” Brock continued. “But far too often, patients who lack health insurance – especially patients of color – enter medical facilities late in the progression of their diagnosis. This sad reality is costing lives and costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary health care bills. States can now move forward in implementing health care reform with the knowledge that the Affordable Care Act is not going anywhere anytime soon.”

The full Supreme Court opinion is available online.

Martin Heinrich Applauds Supreme Court Decision on Health Reform Law

U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich released the following statement today after the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional:

“The Supreme Court has spoken, declaring the Affordable Care Act constitutional. This decision means New Mexicans will continue to benefit from expanded access to quality, affordable health care.

“Now it’s time to move on to the major economic problems facing our country. Our focus needs to be on creating jobs and getting our economy back on track. The finger-pointing needs to end and Washington needs to get its priorities straight by cutting waste and ending the Bush tax breaks for millionaires and companies that outsource jobs, so we can focus on job creation and strengthening Social Security and Medicare” Martin Heinrich said.

How the Health Care Law Is Already Helping People

President Obama signed the health care law– the Affordable Care Act – into law on March 23, 2010, the law found Constitutional today by the Supreme Court,  and it’s already making a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans. The law is holding insurance companies accountable and ensuring middle class families have secure, affordable health insurance.

Thanks to the health care law: 

  • Preventive care –including mammograms for women and wellness visits – are available at no charge for everyone on Medicare.
  • 54 million Americans gained better preventive service coverage through their private health insurance plans.
  • By August 1, 12.8 million Americans will benefit from rebates provided by their insurance company because the company spent too much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
  • 6.6. million young adults were able to sign up for coverage on their parents’ plans, including 3.1 million young adults who would have been uninsured without the law.
  • 5.3 million people with Medicare who hit the prescription drug donut hole saved $3.7 billion on their prescription drugs.
  • Insurance companies can’t drop your coverage because you got sick and made a mistake on your application.  Nearly 16 million Americans who purchase insurance in the individual market are no longer at risk of losing their insurance.
  • Insurance companies can no longer limit the amount of coverage you can receive in a lifetime.  Nearly 105 million privately insured American can now live with the security of knowing that their coverage will be there when they need it the most.

These are just some of the ways the law is already making a positive difference for the American people. And now, you can see the latest data about how the law is helping your state by visiting There, you’ll find a map with links to state-by-state data and facts about how the law is improving our health care system.


Senator Udall Praises Supreme Court Ruling on Health Reform

Following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement:

“When Congress and President Obama first took up this issue, we knew it wouldn’t be easy. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is the best possible outcome for the American people. Today, quality, affordable health care is a major step closer to becoming a reality for millions of Americans who live one accident or diagnosis away from losing everything. For these families, health care is an economic matter with the very real consequences of life, death and bankruptcy. As a nation, and across New Mexico, we cannot afford to go back to just a short time ago when insurance coverage for all was further from reach, when children with cancer could be denied coverage, and when unemployed, recent college graduates would be kicked off their parents’ insurance by age 22.

“We can still improve upon the law we’ve put into place, but today, New Mexico has already received more than $200 million in grants and loans to establish an insurance exchange, strengthen community health centers, train new health professionals and so much more. Since passing the law, more than 26,000 young adults under 26-years-old in our state have been allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance plans. Almost 20,000 New Mexico seniors on Medicare received a rebate to help cover prescription costs when they hit the donut hole in 2010. And 285,000 New Mexicans with private health insurance no longer have to pay a deductible or copayment for preventive care like physicals, cancer screenings and vaccinations. More is yet to come.

“Today’s decision marks another turning point in our country’s approach to health care equality. Now’s the time to put aside partisanship and work together to make our health care policy even stronger” Senator Udall said.

How President Obama is Moving us Toward Oil Independence

President Obama is dedicated to moving America toward a more energy-independent future—one that not only protects our environment but also creates jobs. As part of his all-of-the-above energy plan, the President has encouraged responsible domestic oil production to lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Thanks in part to this focus, the nation’s reliance on foreign oil hit a 20-year low in the first part of this year. In fact, energy analysts predict that “America will halve its reliance on Middle East oil by the end of this decade and could end it completely by 2035.” The Wall Street Journal reports:

“By 2020, nearly half of the crude oil America consumes will be produced at home, while 82% will come from this side of the Atlantic, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By 2035, oil shipments from the Middle East to North America “could almost be nonexistent,” the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently predicted, partly because more efficient car engines and a growing supply of renewable fuel will help curb demand.

“The change achieves a long-sought goal of U.S. policy-making: to draw more oil from nearby, stable sources and less from a volatile region half a world away. “Whereas at one point there were real and serious concerns about the ability to maintain sustainable access of supplies to the United States if there were disruptions in the Middle East, that has changed,” Carlos Pascual, the top energy official at the State Department, said in an interview.”

Here are just a few of the ways President Obama has helped bring us to this point:

  • Opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration off U.S. coasts: In 2011, the Obama administration offered 21 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas leasing, and in June 2012 held a lease sale for 39 million acres in the Gulf.
  • Held onshore oil and gas lease sales: In 2011 alone, the Obama administration held 32 onshore oil and gas lease sales covering nearly 4 million acres, and has offered more than 3 million acres for leasing in the first quarter of 2012.
  • Increased domestic oil production: Under President Obama, the number of oil rigs in operation in the U.S. quadrupled in the past three years alone. Domestic oil production is now at its highest level in 14 years.

As President Obama has said, the Republican plan to drill and “keep drilling” is “not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling. That’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.” The President’s strategy has helped put America on the path to an energy-independent future.