The greatest problem in our current health insurance system has been inadequate access to quality, affordable care for all Americans. Regrettably, hundreds of constituents from Northwest Indiana contact my office each year seeking help with healthcare issues. I believe that I have an obligation to put my constituents' needs above the needs of insurance companies and support efforts to improve the system. This is why I supported recent healthcare reform passed by Congress and signed into law.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes a long way toward improving a broken system by enacting reforms to protect those who have health insurance now and expanding access to quality, affordable coverage to nearly all Americans.
Health Insurance Reform
Landmark health insurance reform will improve existing health insurance plans and will extend coverage to an additional 32 million Americans. Various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be implemented over several years.
As of March 23, 2011, the following provisions are in effect:
* Insurance companies cannot arbitrarily drop coverage when a person gets sick.
* Sick children cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.
* Insurance companies are prohibited from placing restrictive lifetime caps on coverage. (These annual limits will be completely eliminated by 2014.)
* Young adults up to age 26 will be allowed to stay on their parents' family policy.
* Eligible small businesses that currently provide their employees with health insurance coverage will receive tax credits of up to 35% of the cost of premiums.
* As seniors participating in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug program reached the donut hole in 2010, they received one-time payments of $250. They will now be receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs as they enter their coverage gap.
* Insurance companies must now spend at least 80% of premiums on medical services.
* New insurance options are available for individuals that are locked out of the market due to pre-existing conditions.
* Insurance companies must publish on the Internet detailed justifications for premium increases that are more than 10%.
* Participants in a new insurance plan will have free coverage of key preventative services, including mammograms, immunizations, and other cancer screenings.
I strongly believe that this law will fundamentally and positively change lives. While we may disagree on this issue, I hope you understand my reasons for supporting healthcare reform.