Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler urges Congress to practice patience with Affordable Care Act

Noting the challenges that the United States resolved with other major reforms, Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler urged Congress to exercise patience with the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s fine to be a critic,” Kreidler told members of the U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee this morning. “But it’s clear there are a lot of people who are hurting from having no health-care coverage.”

The Affordable Care Act provides the tools to get millions of citizens access to health care that has been unavailable to them for decades, Kreidler said.

As an example, Kreidler cited the current enrollment of 175,000 individuals in Washington’s state-based exchange, the Washington Healthplanfinder.

Washington’s exchange is succeeding because of a bipartisan commitment in the state to improve health care for citizens. About 1 million Washington residents have no coverage, according to a report by Kreidler’s office.

“We took control of it,” Kreidler said, noting that Washington is just one of 14 states that decided to run its own exchange. “We did not defer that responsibility to the federal government.”

Kreidler said the current attacks by opponents of health-care reform do nothing to help those who need coverage the most. The commissioner also noted that the challenges that troubled the beginning of Social Security in the 1930s, Medicare in 1965 and the addition of prescription drug benefits to Medicare in 2005 were eventually resolved.

“We’re in the early stages of enrollment,” Kreidler said. “The challenges we face today are not unique from what we’ve faced in the past. In the states, we need you to help lead the transformation of a failing health-care system into one that provides real and lasting benefits for all of the citizens of our nation.”

Kreidler was invited to testify at today’s hearing by Congressman Jim McDermott, D-7th District, who serves as the Ranking Member on the subcommittee.


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