Access to quality, affordable health care is critical to the well being of America, today and in the future. Central to this is addressing the needs of the 46 million uninsured Americans, strengthening the Medicare system, providing health insurance to our low-income children, funding cutting-edge research into cures for diseases, and giving patients the clout to challenge the decisions of health insurers. Only through action on these critical issues can we meet the pressing health care concerns of our nation.
Health Care Reform
This week marks the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act - a law that ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and significantly reduces long-term health care costs. The Affordable Care Act is also designed to put you, not the health insurance companies, back in charge of your health care. Because of the Affordable Care Act:
- If you are a young adult, you can now stay on your parents' health plan until your 26th birthday, if you do not have coverage of your own.
- If you are among 4 million eligible small businesses, you can receive tax credits if you choose to offer coverage to your employees - covering 35% of the cost of coverage.
- If you are a child under age 19, you can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company for having a “pre-existing condition.”
- Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage. Such limits have caused some families to declare bankruptcy.
- If you are a senior, you will now be receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs if you enter the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole' coverage gap - a discount that grows until the ‘donut hole' is closed in 2020.
- You can no longer be dropped from coverage by your insurance company simply because you get sick.
- Your insurance company can no longer place restrictive annual limits on your coverage - with annual limits completely eliminated by 2014.
- If you are in a new plan, you now have free coverage of key preventive services, such as immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings.
- Your insurance company must now spend at least 80 percent of premiums on covering medical services - rather than administrative expenses, CEO pay, and profits.
- Your insurance company must now publish on the Internet detailed justifications for any premium increases they are seeking that are more than 10 percent.
Learn more about the Affordable Care Act:
- How the Affordable Care Act Benefits Seniors
- How the Affordable Care Act Benefits Small Businesses
- How the Affordable Care Act Benefits Women
- How the Affordable Care Act Benefits Young Adults
- How the Affordable Care Act Reduces the Deficit & Contains Costs
- The Affordable Care Act Creates Jobs
- For Seniors: One Year Later, What Happened and What Didn't
On May 1, 2008, the House passed Senate amendments to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, H.R. 493. On May 21, the President signed this landmark bill into law. The legislation will prohibit health insurance companies and employers from discriminating against people on the basis of genetic test results. By prohibiting the improper use of genetic information, this bill encourages Americans to undergo testing necessary for early treatment and prevention of genetic-based diseases.
Mental Health Equality
On March 5, 2008, the House passed the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, H.R. 1424, which will end discrimination against patients seeking treatment for mental illnesses. The bill was signed into law on October 3, 2008. The bill eliminates discriminatory provisions that erect obstacles to accessing care for Americans with mental health and addiction disorders. The 1996 Mental Health Parity Act required equality only for annual and lifetime limits. This bill requires equality across the terms of the health plan.
Watch Leader Pelosi speak in support of the bill: