Governor Patrick’s Remarks On The Affordable Care Act Decision

BOSTON – Thursday, June 28, 2012 – Governor Deval Patrick’s remarks as delivered on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act:

Governor Patrick watches President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act remarks to the nation in his State House office. (Photo credit: Eric Haynes / Governor’s Office).

Today’s decision is a victory for the American people, a victory for the proper role of government and a victory for our system of constitutional checks and balances.

It’s a victory for the American people because it sustains a law that gives families security, holds insurers accountable and helps Americans get the care they need.

  • Thirty million Americans without health care will now have it.
  • Over 5 million people on Medicare save more than $3.7 billion on their medications.
  • Over 3 million young adults get coverage through their parents’ health plans.
  • People – 130 million by some estimates – won’t be locked out of the insurance market because of a preexisting health condition or go bankrupt because of a chronic illness.
  • Health care costs for individuals, families, small business and local governments go down.

That’s all good news for the American people.

This is also a victory for the role of government in helping people help themselves. High health care costs and inadequate access to care are significant national economic and social challenges in this country. Congress acted in 2009 for the same reasons our legislature and Governor Romney acted in 2006: because health is a public good and everyone deserves access to it, and because reforming the system brings costs down and improves care for everyone. Today the Court upheld that power.

And finally this is a victory for our system of constitutional government. Federal judges are often vetted these days for their political views. The Court’s majority made an important point today by reaffirming that it is not the role of the Court to opine on whether they like what Congress has done, but rather whether Congress has the constitutional power to do what it has done. By affirming that principle, the system worked.

We have already shown here in Massachusetts how economically important and morally right health care reform can be. We live in a state right now where 99.8% of children have access to quality care – why should it be any other way?

Since Governor Romney signed health care reform here in Massachusetts, more private companies are offering health care to their employees, fewer people are getting primary care in an expensive emergency room setting and hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors have access to care they didn’t have before. We’re seeing improvements in health, especially among women and poor people. It has not busted the state budget.  Massachusetts health care reform has become a competitive advantage, attracting young people and entrepreneurs who know they can come here and take a chance on a new company and still have access to the best care in the world.  And premiums are stabilizing or are going down, not growing. In other words, each and every one of the list of horrors Governor Romney now says will happen in America because of Obamacare did not happen in Massachusetts because of Romneycare.

The Affordable Care Act gives Massachusetts tools to improve the quality of care and lower costs for everyone. One of the great outcomes of today’s ruling is allowing that work to go forward. We are using the Affordable Care Act to improve health IT, enabling digital medical records that are easier to move through the system; we are using the Affordable Care Act to move to more integrated, higher quality, lower cost care; we are also using the Affordable Care Act today to streamline coverage for the working poor across Massachusetts.

Because of this law, and because of today’s ruling, our work in Massachusetts and in this country will move forward.

Today’s ruling I believe is an affirmation of basic American ideals. The Affordable Care Act is not ultimately about President Obama or Chief Justice Roberts or any other member of the Court or of the Congress. It’s about Americans, all across this country, who are trying to make their way forward. It’s about helping people help themselves. Because of this law, and because of today’s ruling, this is a more perfect union.