Today, Rhode Island Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline will vote in opposition to a Republican attempt to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the historic health reform bill that was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010.
"Voters sent us here to create jobs, strengthen Rhode Island's economy and reduce the federal deficit. Sadly, the Republicans' first priority to repeal health reform undercuts all of those efforts at the expense of Rhode Islanders who are still hurting from the recession," said Langevin. "Reversing course now would increase already skyrocketing health care costs for families and businesses, give insurers back the power to deny or drop coverage when you're sick, and raise the deficit by an additional $230 billion."
"My number one priority is to do everything I can to get Rhode Islanders back to work, to get our economy moving, and to confront the rising national deficit -- and that is what we should be focusing on," said Congressman Cicilline. "This law lowers drug costs for seniors, bans discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and allows young people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' insurance plans, and invests in wellness, among other benefits. Repealing this law would reverse all of that and hurt Rhode Island families. We should be working together to find practical solutions that improve this law and its impact on Rhode Islanders."
Various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) have already gone into effect, providing help for Rhode Island families, children, seniors and small businesses.
* Almost 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Rhode Island have already received a $250 rebate check for their prescription drugs and many will be eligible for 50 percent discounts on covered brand name prescription drugs when they hit the "donut hole" this year.
* Over 3,500 young adults in Rhode Island now have access to their parents' health plans. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would rob Rhode Island families of the peace of mind of knowing that young adults can stay on their parents' plan to age 26 if they do not have coverage of their own.
* Approximately 18,000 small businesses in Rhode Island have already received information from the IRS on the tax credit for small businesses to help provide coverage to employees. Small businesses pay, on average, 18% more than large businesses for coverage, and premiums have gone up three times faster than wages in the past 10 years.
Additional provisions already in effect as part of the new Patient's Bill of Rights enacted under the Affordable Care Act include:
No Rescissions -- Prohibits health plans from dropping people when they get sick.
No Discrimination Against Children -- Bans all employer plans and new plans in the individual market from denying coverage to children with pre-existing medical conditions.
No Lifetime Limits -- Prohibits all health plans from placing lifetime limits on coverage.
Free Preventive Care -- Requires new plans to cover preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles.
Right to Appeal -- Requires new plans to provide consumers the right to appeal the plan's denial of coverage to an independent third party.
If the Affordable Care Act were repealed, these patients' rights now in effect would be wiped out. According to preliminary estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the Affordable Care Act would add $145 billion to the deficit by 2019 and $230 billion by 2021.