This past March, Congress and President Obama stood up to months of fear-mongering and misinformation and passed a historic healthcare reform bill that has been 60 years in the making. The official name is H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148). This issue is a big part of why my constituents sent me to Washington and I am proud to have been able to cast a vote to address our nation's health care disparities and expand access for all Americans. Soon, 32 million uninsured Americans will have access to health coverage, and we will all have the security of knowing insurance companies will be barred from denying coverage when we need it most.
As a result of this bill, Americans and their doctors will finally be in control of their health care rather than at the mercy of insurance companies. No American should ever have to worry about fighting their insurance company while they are also fighting cancer, diabetes or any other devastating illness. Moreover, because the bill reduces the federal deficit by over $1.3 trillion over the next two decades, our global competitiveness will no longer be hindered by our ailing health care system.
Benefits that take effect this year include
1. Young adults will be able to stay on their parent's insurance policy until their 26th birthday, benefiting 3.2 million young people in California alone;
2. Health plans will be prohibited from placing lifetime caps on coverage;
3. Small businesses will be eligible for a 35% tax credit toward providing health insurance;
4. Health insurance companies will be barred from denying coverage to children who have pre-existing conditions;
5. Health insurance companies will be barred from rescinding coverage -- the dirty industry practice of denying payments or cancelling insurance altogether when a patient is sick and most in need of the health insurance they have paid for;
6. A high-risk pool that will provide high-quality and comprehensive health insurance for those who have been without insurance for six months or longer because of pre-existing conditions.