Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) reminded that exactly one year ago, Republicans tried to take health benefits from millions of Americans and force seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs by attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Baca pointed out that had Republicans succeeded, they would have reduced health coverage and increased health costs for millions of Americans.
"Thank goodness Republicans have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act," said Rep. Baca. "If Republicans had been successful in their efforts to destroy the benefits of the historic health care reform, 2.5 million young adults would have lost their health coverage; 17 million children would have lost their protections; 24 million seniors would have lost their free preventative care; and 2.7 million seniors would now be paying more for their drug costs."
Benefits of the Affordable Care Act already enjoyed by Americans include:
Coverage for 2.5 million young adults. Under reform, already 2.5 million young adults have been able to stay on their parents' health plan until their 26th birthday, instead of being uninsured.
Lower drug costs for 2.7 million seniors. Under reform, 2.7 million seniors have already received a 50 percent discount for their brand-name Rx drugs while in the "donut hole,' with an average savings of $569 per senior per year.
Lower health care costs for more than 24 million seniors. Under reform, more than 24 million seniors have already received one or more free preventive services under Medicare, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, or a free annual Wellness Visit.
Guaranteed protection for up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions. Under reform, insurance companies are now prohibited from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions.
The health reform law put Americans and their families in charge of their health care. By contrast, the GOP repeal bill would put insurance companies back in charge -- repealing key new consumer protections for Americans and their families. For example, a successful GOP repeal effort would mean:
Allowing insurers to once again arbitrarily drop individuals from coverage simply because they get sick;
Allowing insurers to once again place a lifetime limit on coverage -- a limit that, in the past, has forced families into bankruptcy when a serious illness has struck;
and Allowing insurers to once again impose low annual limits on coverage, increasing costs for families.
The GOP repeal effort would also repeal key provisions that hold insurance companies accountable and achieve savings for consumers. For example, a successful GOP effort would mean:
Repealing holding insurance companies accountable by eliminating the requirement that insurers spend at least 80 percent of premiums covering medical services -- rather than CEO pay, profits, and administrative costs, and eliminating the requirement that insurers that fail to meet the 80 percent test must provide a rebate to their customers, beginning this year; and
Repealing holding insurance companies accountable by eliminating the requirement that insurers must publish on the internet justifications for any premium increases they are seeking that are more than 10 percent, with outside experts publicly evaluating whether these increases are justified.
"As health care reform continues to be implemented, it is expanding coverage and lowering costs for millions of American households," concluded Rep. Baca. "I will continue to fight against GOP efforts to repeal patients' rights and put the insurance companies back in charge."