(BOSTON, MA) -“Today’s passage of the landmark Senate Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have a profound and positive impact on the lives of generations of Americans for years to come. We are tremendously grateful to our Senators who voted to make health security a reality for Americans. Failure to act would have put millions of families in harm’s way.

“We especially commend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his leadership in shepherding this bill through a difficult and contentious process. As an organization that has worked to ensure consumers have a voice in health reform, we believe the Senate bill will benefit consumers in many ways. It will help provide quality affordable coverage by offering strong consumer protections, containing health care costs, improving choice and competition among health plans, lowering costs of insurance policies, and requiring greater accountability from health insurance companies.

“Having worked closely with our state partners to successfully implement state health reform, we have a deep understanding of the need to ensure the voices of consumers are heard. Therefore, we are particularly pleased the Senate bill funds the immediate startup of state-based consumer assistance offices dedicated to answering questions about insurance options, assisting with enrollment and helping consumers navigate the new system. We hope these important provisions are maintained and enhanced in conference.

“Under this bill, tens of millions low- and moderate-income Americans would see improvements in their ability to pay for the care they need but that many currently can’t afford. Among the greatest beneficiaries would be middle-class Americans, many of whom have seen their financial security wiped out by steep premiums, unmanageable out-of-pocket costs and crushing medical debt. The bill also significantly expands Medicaid to include 15 million adults who are currently ineligible in most states.

“As the process moves forward, we also hope the House and Senate will continue to strengthen affordability protections for those on the lower end of the income scale, who are the majority of the uninsured. If we are going to require people to purchase health insurance, we have an obligation to make sure that premiums are affordable and that coverage offers true financial protection for people at both ends of the income scale.

“Finally, we cannot let this historic moment pass without acknowledging that this day would never have happened had it not been for the tireless work, unwavering support and hopeful vision of our own great Senator from Massachusetts, Senator Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy’s passion for and dedication to the cause of his lifetime, health care for all Americans, is his greatest legacy, and it has helped us stay energized during this long and difficult process. He kept the dream alive, and we – and millions of Americans – are forever grateful.”

About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all.  Since 1997, Community Catalyst has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system.  With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone – especially vulnerable members of society.  For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.