ISPP 2015

Career Opportunities in Pharmacy
President Obama Speaks on Health Reform

The President
Good afternoon. 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 preexisting 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 preexisting 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 preexisting 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.

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