As the husband of a family nurse practitioner, and a senior member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, I know firsthand the challenges that exist in our current health care system. For more than two decades I have worked to make healthcare affordable and accessible for all Americans.
I am proud to have voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which is helping make sure the people of our district can get health insurance. This landmark legislation is holding insurance companies more accountable, increasing competition and guaranteeing more health insurance options.
Many people have already experienced the Affordable Care Act’s benefits. Insurance companies can no longer drop your coverage when you get sick or deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Adults with pre-existing conditions now have access to coverage. Being a woman can no longer be treated as a pre-existing condition and your coverage can’t be dropped because you become pregnant. New insurance plans are required to cover preventive services and immunizations with no co-payments. Seniors are saving millions on prescription drugs. Small businesses that provide coverage to their employees now get a tax credit on insurance premiums. And, the hidden taxes all insured individuals currently pay toward the cost of emergency room visits by people without insurance have ended.
On October 1st, 2013 a major component of the law went into effect: the new, online health insurance marketplaces. In California, people can go online at www.coveredca.com, see what discounts they qualify for, compare plans, and pick one that’s right for them, their budget, and their health care needs.
I have said from the beginning that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, and you have to look no further than the federal health exchange website that has been plagued by delays to see that is true. However, we should be spending our time working to build on and strengthen the reforms made in the law, not trying to undermine them at every turn.
To help solve the cancellation notices people have received, I supported legislation that would allow people who like their insurance to keep their insurance. This was a promise that was made when health care reform was passed and it is a promise that should be kept. The legislation I supported would also stop insurance companies from continuing to sell junk plans to new enrollees, ensuring insurance companies only sell plans that meet minimum standards.
Reforming health care has and always will be an ongoing process that will not be completed with the passage of any one bill. But by passing the Affordable Care Act into law, millions of Americans will now be able to get health insurance. And that’s what matters.