Talking Points: Implementing the Affordable Care Act
Three months ago this week, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. As a result of that law, families and small businesses across the country will be able to save money by purchasing health care more affordably; our national long-term structural deficit will be reduced; millions of uninsured Americans will finally be able to get the coverage and the care they need; and all Americans can count on more stability and greater control of their health care decisions as a result of new consumer protections.While the law will not be fully implemented for a few years, many of the benefits of reform are already coming to Americans. For example:
- Last month, four million small business owners across the country were notified about their potential eligibility this year for a health care tax cut worth tens of thousands of dollars that could help them to cover the cost of insurance for their employees.
- This month, tens of thousands of eligible seniors began receiving $250 rebate checks from the federal government to help them purchase prescription medications that fall within the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole. By the end of the year, it is estimated that 4 million seniors will receive such checks. And by 2020, the Affordable Care Act will close the donut hole entirely.
- Beginning this year, young adults without insurance of their own will be able to remain on their parents’ health insurance through age 26. Health insurance companies are required to make that change by September, but many have already done so, helping young Americans across the country to avoid a costly coverage gap.
- And this July 1st, uninsured Americans with a preexisting condition will gain the ability to enroll in a new, national insurance pool where they can purchase quality, affordable health care – perhaps for the first time in their life.
In addition, the President today announced that, under the Affordable Care Act, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury will be issuing new regulations that will end some of the worst practices of the insurance industry and put in place the strongest consumer protections in history. As a result, every American will finally be able to count on a real Patient’s Bill of Rights.
That Bill of Rights is long overdue, and it is a victory for every American. It is not intended to punish insurance companies, but will instead establish basic rules that will make the American health care system more consumer-friendly and cost-effective, finally enabling every American to rest easy in the knowledge that their health insurance will be there when they need it.
In particular, beginning this December, some of the insurance industry’s most abusive practices will be brought to a timely end. Specifically:
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against children with preexisting conditions or deny them coverage.
- Insurance will no longer be able to rescind an individual’s coverage when they get sick, even if they made an unintentional mistake on their insurance application.
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to cap lifetime coverage or establish restrictive annual limits.
- And the barriers that currently exist between the American people and their doctors will be torn down – Americans will be able to keep the primary care doctor or pediatrician they choose.
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of President Obama and Democrats in Congress to ensure Americans have stability, security, and access to care, the Republican Party still opposes any change to the status quo. They want to repeal health insurance reform and return America to the broken system we had before.
The President refuses to let that happen. He won’t let America go back to a system that allowed insurance companies to discriminate against sick children; to strip away individuals’ coverage when they got sick; and to place lifetime limits on health care, preventing Americans from getting care when they needed it most. He will do everything in his power to protect Americans’ new, hard-won health care rights.
The Obama administration has launched a new healthcare website!