Every American deserves quality affordable health care and the peace of mind that comes with knowing an illness or injury will not result in extreme financial hardship. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama is on track to make coverage available to 32 million Americans while reducing our deficit by $143 billion dollars over the next decade. When the implementation of this legislation is complete, no American will have to worry about losing health insurance when they lose their job or move across state lines, nor will insurance companies be allowed to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions.
With some of the most important aspects of health care reform taking effect in 2011, I am committed to defending this landmark law from Republican attacks in the 112th Congress. Starting in 2011, the Affordable Care Act:
* Provides 50 percent discounts on brand name drugs to seniors who fall into the Medicare 'donut hole'
* Increases Medicare payments to primary care physicians and general surgeons who treat Medicare patients
* Authorizes Medicare to provide seniors with annual check-ups and routine screenings free of charge
* Requires private health insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premium dollars they charge on actual health care, or provide customers with rebates starting in 2012
These new provisions come on the heels of those that took effect in 2010, such as the end of coverage denials to children with preexisting conditions, the ability of young adults to stay on their parents' insurance plans until the age of 26, tax breaks for small businesses that offer insurance to their employees, and better tools for CMS and the FBI to go after criminals who commit fraud and abuse in our Medicare system.