Pelosi Remarks on 10th Anniversary of Affordable Care Act & Unveiling of Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act

March 23, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a statement on the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the introduction of House Democrats’ Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good afternoon.

Ten years ago today, on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.  On that proud day, we took a monumental step forward for the health and financial security of the American people.

We expanded new health coverage to 20 million people and delivered better coverage to the more than 150 million Americans with health insurance through their employer. 

We passed the Affordable Care Act because we believe that in the United States of America, health care must be a right, not a privilege.  The late Senator Ted Kennedy made that belief the fight of his life.

Thanks to the leadership of President Barack Obama, who was dedicated, knowledgeable, strategic and determined to succeed; thanks to the clear vision of our Committee Chairs crafting the legislation and the deep courage of Members of Congress; thanks to outside mobilization of patient advocacy groups, Nuns on the Bus, March of Dimes, Protect Our Care, Little Lobbyists and others, the Affordable Care Act stands today among the greatest pillars of American health and financial security: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.

Now, we find ourselves in the depths of one of the most serious health and economic emergencies our nation has ever faced.  The protections of the Affordable Care Act are more important now than ever.  But right now, in the middle of coronavirus, the Trump Administration is in court suing to tear down the entire Affordable Care Act.  Every last protection and benefit.

If President Trump succeeds in striking down the ACA in court, gone is the ban on insurers putting limits on your health care, gone are guaranteed essential health benefits and free preventive services, gone are young people staying on their parent’s insurance until age 26, gone is the health insurance of 20 million Americans and gone are the lifesaving protections for more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Today, therefore, I am calling on President Trump to abandon his lawsuit seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act.  Instead, the President must urge the fourteen states who have refused to expand Medicaid to do so. 

Last Thursday, Pope Francis offered the world this prayer: ‘Enlighten those responsible for the common good, so that they might know how to care for those entrusted to their responsibility.’

Today, House Democrats are unveiling the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act – a bill that takes responsibility for the health, wages and well-being of America’s workers.  Democrats take responsibility for our workers.  We require that any corporation that takes taxpayer dollars must protect their workers’ wages and benefits – not CEO pay, stock buybacks or layoffs.  We strengthen Unemployment Insurance so that it can replace the average wages of our workers who are losing their jobs and hours.

For our small businesses, we provide fast relief with grants and loans to tide them through this crisis. 

For our doctors, nurses, health care workers and first responders and hospitals and other health institutions, we provide desperately needed funds to care for those who are sick – and to ensure they have Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, that they need.  We protect our health care workers by requiring the Administration to enforce our stronger OSHA protections.

For our families, we give direct payments to America’s families in a robust way and strengthen the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.  We give more workers the security of guaranteed paid family and medical leave, including those caring for our seniors.  And we make coronavirus treatment free for the patient.

For our students, we provide emergency funds for our schools and universities.  We help current borrowers with their student debt burden and the GI Bill benefits.  We bolster SNAP and other initiatives to address food insecurity.

For our democracy, we ensure that states can carry out this year’s election and require early voting and vote-by-mail.

I am grateful to our Committee Chairs and Members for their extraordinary leadership and work for America’s workers and families.

The Senate Republican bill put corporations first.  But because of the insistence of Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats, progress has been made.  We urge the Senate to move closer to the values in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.         

We must be bold and forward-looking in our thinking.  We must be swift and evidence-based in our actions.  And we must be prayerful. 

God bless the families of those who have lost loved ones and those fighting this terrible illness now.  God bless our nurses, doctors, first responders and men and women in uniform.  God bless the men and women in our factories making medical supplies, cars, all of it, and those keeping our grocery shelves stocked with food.  God bless the scientists racing to find a cure.  God bless all of you.  And may God always bless America.

Thank you.