• Last week, I wrote about how the holiday season is a time to come together. Whether you celebrate with your family, your friends and neighbors, or both, the holidays are time to be around and catch up with the people who matter most in our lives.

    This year, it’s important to remember that the people who matter most in our lives have something in common: The Affordable Care Act is making their health care more affordable and easier to access.

    Let’s start with grandma and grandpa, or those of us who have reached a “certain age.” Getting older is no small feat, and it can be an expensive ordeal. Thankfully, the ACA has done a good job keeping prescription drug and insurance costs down for folks on Medicare, while bringing down out-of-pocket costs for routine doctor visits and strengthening the options available to seniors.

    The ACA helps families with children, too. Thanks to the ACA, the Children’s Health Insurance Program has been strengthened, and more health insurance options are available for struggling families. Health insurance companies also now are required to offer a wide range of preventative health care benefits for children, with no associated out-of-pocket costs.

    Young folks in our lives also benefit from the ACA. The law requires that children be eligible for their parent’s healthcare coverage up to age 26, which can be a big help for young adults who are working on their education or starting their careers.

    The ACA is by no means perfect, but whether you agree with it or not, it has done some good. It has guaranteed that folks with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. And 13 million Americans now have health insurance who didn’t have it before the law went into effect. That’s 13 million people who matter: grandmas, grandpas, children, parents, neighbors, friends and coworkers who should be able to enjoy the holiday season knowing they have access to quality health care.

    Unfortunately, a recent court ruling in Texas has put all of this in doubt, with no real alternative on the table. A federal judge, in defiance of common sense, declared the law unconstitutional. This decision is being appealed, so there’s no need to panic yet. But if the ruling is allowed to stand, it could cause real harm to millions of Americans who depend on the ACA for their health care coverage.

    The news may seem dire, but you should know that I’m doing my part to make sure that folks in Senate District 5 have access to the health care that they need. The voters of Maine have asked that we expand Medicaid, and I’m looking forward to working with Gov. Janet Mills to make sure that happens in a sustainable way. I’m also hearing a lot of good ideas from my fellow senators in both parties on ways to lower health care and prescription drug costs for Mainers. I hope we can work together to make those ideas a reality.

    As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected], or to call my office at (207) 287-1515 or my personal phone at (207) 827-3498. My line is always open.

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