Congressman Charles Rangel told a crowd of more than 700 people Saturday that access to free preventive health services are just some of the new benefits that New Yorkers can look forward to in the Affordable Care Act.
"We know that many Americans don't get the preventive care they need because of the cost. Seven in ten deaths in America result from chronic and often preventable diseases -- this is unacceptable," said Rep. Rangel. "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, free preventive care now will keep many in Upper Manhattan and across the city healthier and save money in the long run."
Rangel provided an overview of the new healthcare law, which help craft as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
"Access to quality healthcare is a right that every American deserves, regardless of how much money they make, where they live or what they do for a living," said Rangel. "The bill we passed may not have been what we all wanted, but it was a good first step to making that right a reality for millions."
Afterwards, a panel moderated by WWRL personality Mark Riley, further examined how the law would affect residents. Speakers included: Harlem Hospital Executive Director John M. Palmer; HealthFirst President and CEO Pat Wang; Commission on the Public's Health System Director Judy Wessler; The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Programs Patricia Ricketts; Family Health Center at North General Family Center President and CEO Dr. Neil Calman; New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Senior VP LaRay Brown.
The Congressman thanked Palmer, Healthfirst and the rest of the organizers for continuing to spread the good news about the new law.
"The first victory for securing quality healthcare was won this spring, but if we are going to win this war, we have to have more forums like these," said Rangel. "People have to know what they are entitled to and so that they can live longer and healthier lives."
PROVIDING PREVENTIVE SERVICES
Rangel applauded the new regulations issued by the Obama Administration last week to help make prevention affordable by requiring new health plans to cover recommended preventive services at no cost to the patient. The regulations, based on provisions in the Affordable Care Act, will keep Americans healthier and help save money over the long term by increasing access to preventive care.
Thanks to these reforms, Americans who enroll in a new health plan on or after September 23, 2010, will have access to preventive services without being charged a deductible, copayment or coinsurance.
Next year, an estimated 41 million Americans will benefit from these new prevention provisions -- 31 million in new employer plans and 10 million in new individual plans. By 2013, an estimated 88 million Americans will benefit from the provisions -- 78 million in new employer plans and 10 million in new individual plans.
Comprehensive preventive care can save billions of dollars and thousands of lives. There are 69 million workers reporting missed days due to illness each year, which reduces economic output in this country by $260 billion per year. Every dollar spent on immunizations could save $5.30 on direct health care costs. However, the costs of these services are often prohibitive, and Americans currently use preventive services at only half the recommended rate.
"This is one of the many important reforms Democrats created to save working families money and put them -- not insurance companies - in control of their health care," said Rangel. "Its legislation that will provide generations with access and security, legislation that we stand ready to defend against Republicans who have threatened to repeal this and other parts of healthcare reform if they take control of the Congress this November."
Depending on age and health risks, the types of preventive services that will be available without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance under these new provisions include:
* Blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests;
* Many cancer screenings;
* Routine vaccines for diseases such as measles, polio, or meningitis;
* Flu and pneumonia shots;
* Counseling, screening and vaccines for healthy pregnancies; and
* Regular well-baby and well-child visits, from birth to age 21.
Americans are beginning to see the benefits of health reform. Seniors who are affected by the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole' coverage gap are receiving checks to lower their costs, 4 million small businesses have received notice that they are eligible for a health care tax credit potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars to help them cover their employees, young adults are now allowed to stay on their parents' insurance, insurance companies have stopped their practice of rescissions -- or dropping people's coverage when they need it most, and some outrageous premium hikes have been reversed.
For more information on Congressman Rangel's position on healthcare issues, please visit his web site at www.rangel.house.gov.