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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Remarks At A Press Conference Celebrating The 14th Anniversary Of The Affordable Care Act

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke alongside fellow Congressional Democratic leaders on the 14th anniversary of the historic Affordable Care Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

“Thanks to my House and Senate colleagues who are here today, we celebrate the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, and we mark not just how many people this historic law has helped, but make clear to the American people that the fight is not yet over. We learned that the hard way in the Senate.

“When I became leader in 2017, the other party, the Republican Party, was just hellbent on repealing the law. I spent hours and hours and hours with my dear friend John McCain, walked him over from his office and saw the historic thumbs down that kept the health care for tens and tens of millions of people.

“So we have to say two things. We want to expand ACA and cover more people, a word for them, they want to eliminate or certainly curtail ACA and dramatically limit health care to people.

“If you want to know, do the parties have differences? This is one of the biggest ones: health care. Probably the number one issue that faces Americans. If you are ill, have a family member who's ill, a friend who's ill, you know the inability to get good health care as they get sicker and sicker, just pulls at your heartstrings like just about nothing else.

“We cannot be complacent. We can't be complacent in terms of preventing reduction or repeal of ACA. That's still on their agenda, for some reason. Why they don't want people to have more health care is beyond me. But we also have to be strong in expanding ACA. And one of the key issues in this election will be health care for people, and we care about it a lot.

“Not only did the ACA survive after 2017 and the attempt to repeal it, which we won just by a little. The ACA not only survived, but stronger and better than ever. And because of investments we made – the Senate played a role, big role, I did, people here – in expanding it in the IRA, premiums are less expensive than ever, and this past year, a record number of people enrolled in an individual plan in the marketplace. More than 21 million Americans now find affordable health care. Isn't that incredible? 50% higher enrollment than 4 years ago.

“So we haven't rested and we control the House, which we will, God willing, and the Senate and the presidency, you'll see that expansion grow further without question. But 21 million Americans. Is that a great thing? That is.

“And the ACA has also been important in addressing the racial disparities in our health care. Insulin caps are a huge help to communities of color who are disproportionately affected by diabetes. The number of uninsured black Americans under the age of 65 has dropped more than 40% since the implementation of ACA, and Latinos saw the largest drop off in people without insurance, from 40% to 24%. And, thanks to the ACA, 6.1 million Latinos gained access to preventative services without out-of-pocket costs.

“These are very significant changes.

“You know, these are big numbers, but just think of it in terms of the individual families that can breathe a sigh of relief that when they need some kind of health care, they can actually afford it and get it. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

“Democrats will not stop fighting to reduce premiums, to keep down the cost of prescription drugs, where we be made a great start in the IRA, to keep fighting to expand Medicaid to all the states. I think there are still 19 who don't expand Medicaid, and I'm confident we're going to move closer and closer and closer to our goal that health care is a right for all Americans, and no person in this country should ever have to say they are sick because they cannot afford or get the health care they need.”