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Transcript of Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders Affordable Care Act Anniversary Press Event

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Dean of the House – Congressman John Dingell, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, and House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Joe Crowley held a press event on the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in the Capitol Visitors Center.  Below is a transcript of Leader Pelosi’s opening and closing remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Good afternoon everyone.  Thank you for being here.  It’s a very important day in the life of America because we’re observing the third year anniversary, the three year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.  I’m very honored to be joined by our distinguished Whip, Mr. Hoyer, our Assistant Leader, Mr. Clyburn – we’ll be joined by John Dingell, I hope, shortly, and our Caucus Vice Chair Joe Crowley.  So they’ll step up and speak.  But our very special guests today, our representatives of the community, Diane Fleming from Washington, D.C. – we’ll talk about her experience; she tells me as a senior, I don’t know – but her mom, about her mom and about, with Alycia Steinberg whom Steny will introduce proudly as a mom from Maryland, and as well as Amy Lin, young invincible, to talk to us about what the Affordable Care Act means to them.

We’re going to go at a clip because we have votes on the floor, but what I want to say about today is that I’ve always said that the Affordable Care Act was something that was transformative.  It helped us honor our promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the American people.  Life, a healthier life.  Liberty to pursue to their happiness, people’s individual happiness because they could not – they wouldn’t be job blocked, stay at a job because somebody in the family had a preexisting medical condition, or that they did themselves.  Just think, if you could be a photographer, a writer, start your own business, be self-employed, as well as change jobs, or start business, and not have to be constrained by whether you had affordable and accessible quality health care, that’s what this legislation does.  And, again, it’s about prevention and wellness for our country, quality of care, it’s about something very important to our families in society. 

And many of the benefits have already been experienced by families.  More than 100 million Americans are receiving free preventative services.  One-hundred and five million Americans no longer face lifetime limits, and that number will grow when the bill is fully in effect, the act is fully in effect; 6.1 million seniors have saved nearly $6 billion – $5.7 billion on prescription drugs; up to 17 million children with preexisting conditions are protected, and I know that, that Alycia will be talking about that; 3.1 million young adults, who otherwise would be uninsured, but now, up until age 26, they can be on their parents’ program.  And it strengthens Medicare, in fact, it strengthens Medicare in a way that provided additional benefits right from the start and that will, in addition, it will prolong the life of Medicare.  So, more to come in terms of ‘preexisting conditions’ for all Americans, no lifetime limits.  Again, as we celebrate Women’s History Month this month, it’s important to note that in this legislation, being a woman is no longer a preexisting medical condition.  No longer will we have to face higher premiums for just simply being a woman; insurers cannot drop someone because she is pregnant and that women can have access to a high range of preventive services.  I’ve acknowledged our guests who are here, our colleagues who are here, I have talked about you Joe, already.  But I also need to acknowledge our special guests who are here about the Affordable Care Act as well and each and every one of you for being here.

With that, I – Mr. Dingell has not arrived yet – so I will yield to our distinguished Whip of the House, Mr. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.  Steny.

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Leader Pelosi.  On behalf of my colleagues, all of them, including those who had to run to vote, I want to thank Alycia Steinberg for sharing her story about her little daughter and the hope that you have; Diane Fleming, for how the Affordable Care Act affects seniors and how repealing it, as the Ryan Budget does, is not a good idea; and Amy Lin, one of the invincibles, we thank you for your leadership and all of you for being here.  If there were no reason to do the Affordable Care Act – people loved their insurance companies, they loved their coverage and everyone had quality, affordable, accessible health care, we would still have had to pass the bill, because the status quo was financially unsustainable to families, to small businesses, to big businesses.  It’s a competitiveness issue, to our national and state and local budgets and to our economy; it’s a competitiveness issue.  So, as I said at the beginning: it was transform, it’s transformative – it will be – in the lives of the families that are affected in their economy because of lowering the increasing cost of care, but it’s not just about health care in America, it’s about the good health of America.  That’s an important value to us.  I thank you all for joining us to celebrate the bill, to make it so.  Thank you all very much.

[Applause]