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Saint Paul, Minnesota – Today marks the two-year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act—commonly referred to as Obamacare. State Representative Erin Murphy (DFL – St. Paul) and State Representative Tom Huntley (DFL—Duluth), longtime health care advocates who have been instrumental in enacting health reforms in Minnesota, believe implementation of the ACA has been transformative for many Minnesotans, increasing their access to and quality of care.
“There is no question about it—the Affordable Care Act has made and will continue to make great strides in improving care for Americans and Minnesotans," said Rep. Murphy. “In the past year, 32,000 young adults in Minnesota were able to gain insurance, more than 1 million Minnesotans with private insurance gained preventative service coverage with no cost-sharing, and nearly 67,000 seniors were able to receive a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription medication.”
Both Rep. Murphy and Rep. Huntley question the strong resistance of Republicans both in Minnesota and across the country in embracing the ACA. Republicans in the Minnesota House have introduced a constitutional amendment that would block implementation of the federal policy. Additionally, many Republicans in the House and Senate have been critical of enacting a Minnesota Health Exchange—a policy provision of the ACA.
“Quite frankly, I find it baffling,” said Rep. Huntley. “The data is there—the ACA is helping Minnesotans all over the state control the costs of healthcare, freeing up funds to spend elsewhere in our state. For example, due to the ACA, 66,000 seniors in our state are averaging $590 in savings per person on their prescription drugs. That’s a total of $33 million dollars saved; money in their pockets that they can spend on groceries, housing, and other daily needs.”
“This past week we’ve seen Republicans make a lot of choices in who and what they choose to make a legislative priority—big business and special interests, rather than our seniors, disabled and middle class,” said Rep. Murphy. “The Republican push-back on the ACA embraces a status-quo system that favors the interests of the industry over the health of the people. The ACA rights that wrong.”
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