Affordable Care Act
One of the most rewarding days of my life was March 23, 2010 — the day when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was signed into law. Obamacare ends insurance industry abuses in the health system, improves Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and people with disabilities, and covers millions of uninsured Americans. Millions of Americans have received free preventive services, young adults now have health insurance through their parents’ plan, children are no longer denied care because of pre-existing conditions, and seniors and persons with disabilities are paying lower prescription drug bills.
Obamacare is working nationwide:
- Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their benefits.
- Senior and persons with disabilities are now receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs when they are in the Medicare ‘donut hole’ coverage gap, free key preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies, and a free Annual Wellness Visit.
- Small businesses can receive tax credits if they choose to offer coverage for employees – covering 35% of the cost of coverage.
- For millions of Americans, an insurance company must now spend at least 80% of premiums covering medical services and publish justifications for any premium increase more than 10%.
Obamacare is Working in the 9th Congressional District of Illinois:
- There are 20,000 district residents who were previously uninsured but now have quality, affordable health coverage because of the Affordable Care Act. Overall, the number of uninsured district residents has declined by 45%.
- Approximately 13,300 individuals purchased quality, affordable coverage through the new health insurance marketplace, 19,900 enrolled in Medicaid, and 6,600 young adults were able to retain coverage through their parents’ plans. For more than 76% of the individuals enrolled in the health insurance marketplace, financial assistance was available that could reduce the cost of the average plan to $114 per month.
- 283,000 individuals in the district – including 51,000 children and 120,000 women – now have health insurance that covers preventive services without any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductible.
- 8,700 seniors in the district received Medicare Part D prescription drug discounts worth $13.8 million.
- 102,000 seniors in the district are now eligible for Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductible.
- 251,000 individuals in the district are protected by ACA provisions that prevent insurance companies from spending more than 20% of their premiums on profits and administrative overhead. Because of these protections, over 17,300 individuals in the district received approximately $4.4 million in insurance company rebates.
- Up to 36,000 children in the district with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage by health insurers.
- 251,000 individuals in the district now have insurance that cannot place annual or lifetime limits on their coverage.
This law lowers premium costs for small businesses and families and, beginning in 2014, provides coverage to over 30 million Americans. It improves quality and helps to eliminate fraud and abuse. It protects and even adds Medicare benefits for seniors and people with disabilities, while expanding access to home- and community-based long-term care services. And it helps train the doctors and health care workers we need to care for a growing population.
As a previous member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, I had the privilege of playing a significant part in the enactment of Obamacare. I personally had a hand in provisions to end the practice of insurance companies rescinding the coverage of policyholders just at the moment when they need it most — when they get sick. I worked successfully to include a provision to improve long-term care quality and staffing, and one to require health insurance companies to disclose and publicly justify premium increases. I was part of a small group that worked to preserve reproductive health care services for women.
As a long-time advocate of Medicare for All, I know that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it continues to benefit millions of Americans and it provides a strong foundation upon which to build.
More on Affordable Care Act
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