Advocating for Comprehensive Health Care Reform
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
In March 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act implementing measures that have prioritized health care like never before. These comprehensive reforms have empowered hardworking families to make sound choices concerning their health instead of accepting unjust terms dictated by insurance companies. I continue to fight on behalf of those individuals who aren’t looking for a handout but just a level playing field when it comes to health care. Today thousands of seniors, young adults, small businesses, and individuals with preexisting conditions now have unprecedented access to quality health care in the state of Louisiana. In 2012, the Supreme Court Ruled in favor of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. I strongly support President Obama’s push for an overhaul of health insurance programs and applaud the Supreme Court on its decision to uphold the individual mandate which guarantees that the American people, all American people have health care coverage.
Affordable Care Act Enrolment:
Open enrollment will begin October 1, 2013 and will run through March 31, 2014 for the 2014 calendar year. To find out if you are exempt under the new income limits or because Louisiana has chosen not to expand Medicaid eligibility you should visit www.HealthCare.gov.
We should all be pleased with the improvements made under the Affordable Care Act which now provides:
Health insurance coverage for young adults to age 26
The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to permit parents to retain coverage for their children until they reach the age of 26. The result has been a significant increase in health insurance coverage for young adults, who have traditionally been the age group that is most likely to be uninsured. In our District, 5,800 young adults have gained health care coverage as a result of this policy.
Prescription drug discounts for seniors
The Affordable Care Act provides a 50% discount for prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries who enter the Medicare Part D “donut hole” and lose coverage for their drug expenses.
In our District, 6,000 seniors have saved $3.1 million in drug costs, an average savings of $520 per person.
Preventive care and services for seniors with no cost sharing
The Affordable Care Act provides all Medicare beneficiaries with access to preventive care and services without any co-pay, coinsurance, or deductible. Available services include annual wellness visits, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and colorectal and prostate cancer screenings, all of which are provided with no out-of-pocket cost to seniors. In our District, 45,000 seniors have benefited from these free preventive services.
Preventive care and services for children and adults with no cost sharing
The Affordable Care Act requires new private insurance plans to cover preventive care services without any co-pay, coinsurance, or deductible. These insurance policies must cover services such as regular pediatrician visits for children; cholesterol and blood pressure screening for adults; flu shots and other immunizations; cancer screening like mammograms, pap smears, and colonoscopies; and many more.
In our District, 70,000 residents have benefited from this change, including 14,000 children, 29,000 women, and 29,000 residents who are African American or Latino.
Tax credits for small businesses
The Affordable Care Act provides new tax credits to small businesses worth 35% or more of the cost of providing health insurance to their employees. There were an estimated 380 small businesses in our District that used these tax credits in 2010.
Scientific Research and Investment
During budget debates I made it crystal clear to my colleagues that cuts to crucial medical research are unacceptable. Drastic cuts to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other research facilities will hamper our ability to continue the good work of finding cures, expanding biomedical research and provide thousands of well paying jobs for citizens at universities, medical schools, teaching hospitals, and other research institutions across our great nation.
As you can see, we have come a long way and I am committed to fighting my Republican colleagues, whose single focus is to repeal all the work we have done. Together we will continue pressing forward to expand quality, affordable health care access for all Americans. There is so much more yet to be accomplished in health care reform for the families residing in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Join me as we continue to push for improvements in health care while celebrating the broken barriers that once jeopardized the lives of our neighbors and loved ones.