Democratic Michigan Rep. John Dingell, the dean of the House of Representatives, predicted that the health care law will ultimately make “the American people live longer” and “be happier.”
Dingell joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Rep. Jim Clyburn in observing the third anniversary of the health care law’s passage on Capitol Hill.
“Let me just say this: You ain’t seen nothing yet. My dad was one of the authors of Social Security, [and] worked a long time to get it through. We finally — under your leadership, Madame Leader — we got the Affordable Care Act,” Dingell said on Wednesday at the Capitol.
“There’s more work to be done. The process of completing the regulations that are going to make this possible is going forward, and it’s only a little over a year before we see this begin to have it’s full effect on the American people, who are going to live longer, be healthier, be happier and see an enormous increase in the quality of their life.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said congressional Democrats would have pushed for the health care law even if Americans “loved” their health insurance.
“If there were no reason to do the Affordable Care Act — if people loved their insurance companies and loved their coverage and everyone had quality affordable accessible health care — we would still have had to pass the bill, because the status quo was financially unsustainable — to families, to small businesses, to big business, [and] as it’s a competitiveness issue, to our national, state and local budgets and to our economy.”
Pelosi also said the law allows Americans to keep health insurance regardless of their employment status.
Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess, a physician, told The Daily Caller that federal agencies have refused to testify in Congress about the status of the health care law’s implementation. (RELATED VIDEO: Frustrated lawmaker says only pre-approved questioners could speak to Obama)
“The least contentious I can be right now is: You’ve got this big deal that you’re fixing to roll out, it’s all supposed to go live Oct. 1. I have not seen any evidence that the agencies are actually capable of doing that. They won’t come into the committees and talk about it,” Burgess said.
In advance of the health care law’s full implementation, some of the nation’s largest health insurance companies are warning that the law’s regulations will cause them to raise premiums. These increases are expected to hit Americans with individual health policies the hardest.
“We’ve done all the math, we’ve shared it with all the regulators, we’ve shared it with all the people in Washington that need to see it, and I think it’s a big concern,” said Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna Inc.
Bertolini called the situation “premium rate shock for 2014.”