Tierney Statement On Passage Of Historic Health Insurance Reform Legislation


Date: March 21, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.) issued the following statement in response to passage of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 which passed the House this evening.

"Today's action will have a real, meaningful and immediate positive impact on millions of Americans. No longer will parents have to worry about their children being refused care because of a pre-existing condition. No longer will seniors have to make a decision between paying for groceries or filling their prescriptions because of the so-called "donut hole." No longer will insurance companies be able to limit or rescind coverage while our family, friends and neighbors are in the middle of cancer or diabetes care. Today's action will help so many middle-class families and small businesses that have been struggling with out-of-control health care costs," said Congressman Tierney.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found that this legislation will provide coverage to 32 million more people, or more than 95% percent of Americans, while lowering health care costs over the long term. It is expected to reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years, with $1.2 trillion in additional deficit reduction in the following ten years. Additionally, according to information provided by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, this legislation is expected to do the following in the district Congressman Tierney represents:

* Improve coverage for 476,000 residents with health insurance.
* Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 103,000 families and 15,000 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
* Improve Medicare for 108,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
* Guarantee that 2,800 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
* Protect 800 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
* Allow 43,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans.
* Provide millions of dollars in new funding for all of our district's community health centers.
* Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $24 million annually.

Also included as part of this reconciliation legislation, in accordance with budget instructions set forth last year, are important reforms to federal student loan programs. These reforms constitute the largest investment in history to help students and families pay for college - and at no cost to the taxpayer. The bill reforms the system of federal student loans to save taxpayers $61 billion - and then invests much of those savings back into expanding aid for college students and workforce training programs at community colleges, while reducing the deficit by $10 billion over ten years.

"No bill is perfect, but today's legislation will bring about a significant improvement over the status-quo and it represents unmistakable progress in the effort to make health care and higher education more accessible and affordable for all Americans," Tierney concluded.

The President is expected to sign the bill into law shortly after Senate consideration and passage. Upon enactment, the following provisions, among others, would take affect:

* The Medicare Part D Donut Hole will begin to close.
* Young people can extend coverage through their parent's insurance up to the age of 26.
* Small business tax credits will be available for firms that choose to offer health care coverage.
* The insurance company practice of rescinding, or dropping people from coverage when they get sick will end.
* Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.
* Insurance companies will be stopped from placing lifetime caps on coverage.
* It will tightly restrict new plans' use of annual limits on needed care.
* The number of primary care physicians will increase.
* And, plans in the individual and small group market will be required to spend 80% of premium dollars on medical services and plans in large group markets to spend 85%.

For more information on the bill the Congressman has posted the full text of the reconciliation bill as well as additional fact sheets under his Health Care Clearinghouse on his website at http://tierney.house.gov.