This morning, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act into law. The legislation not only improves the Senate health insurance reform bill by closing the prescription drug donut hole, improving affordability, strengthening efforts to fight waste and fraud, and removing special deals, but it also includes the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act which the House passed last fall.
The bill ensures that higher education is more affordable at no additional expense to taxpayers — in fact, it saves money. More students will go to college, they will graduate with less debt, and the federal loan initiatives that they and their families depend upon will be strengthened for decades to come. The legislation will generate almost $100 billion in savings over the next 10 years that will be used to increase Pell Grant scholarships, keep interest rates on federal loans affordable, and safeguard federal student loan access for families. Dr. Jill Biden discusses how the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act makes college more affordable:
Speaker Pelosi on today’s signing:
Health insurance reform represents remarkable progress for the American people. Today, with President Obama's signature, health care becomes more affordable for the middle class, we begin closing the prescription drug donut hole, and we demand accountability from the insurance industry.
Health insurance reform is fiscally responsible for the budgets of America's families and the federal budget. It strengthens Medicare and improves benefits for our seniors. It will create millions of jobs and strengthen our economic security by keeping America competitive and igniting innovation and entrepreneurship.
This legislation is about expanding opportunity for millions of Americans, and essential to opportunity is higher education. This legislation contains the largest investment in college aid in our nation's history by lowering the cost of student loans, expanding Pell Grants, and investing in community colleges and the institutions that traditionally have served minorities. It is fiscally responsible, ending years of government subsidies to banks, making available $68 billion for college loans and deficit reduction.
I salute the efforts of the Members of Congress, particularly Chairman George Miller and many of our newer Members, who led the charge for reform, and President Obama, whose visionary leadership made this progress possible.