Two years ago, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Since that time, millions of Wisconsinites have seen lower costs and better coverage. Seniors, young adults, and families right here in western Wisconsin are benefitting from important insurance protections, free preventive care and stronger Medicare benefits. And our small businesses, that have received tax credits to help them afford coverage for employees, are better able to survive and thrive, especially in a tough economy.
Health care reform frees consumers from the abuses of big insurance companies -- putting them back in charge of their health care decisions. It makes care more accessible and affordable, rewards our hospitals who provide high quality care and responsibly reduces the deficit by more than $1.2 trillion by 2030.
Data shows that since the law was enacted, in the Third Congressional District alone:
* 4,200 young adults in the 3rd Congressional District now have health insurance. Health insurers are required to permit parents to retain coverage for their children until their 26th birthday. Because of this provision, 27,511 young adults statewide have gained health care coverage.
* 5,800 seniors in the district received prescription drug discounts worth $3.5 million. The law provides a 50%discount for brand-name drugs for seniors in the Medicare Part D "donut hole' coverage gap, providing discounts that have averaged about $610 per senior. 59,345 Medicare recipients statewide saved a total of $37,919,307.
* 86,000 seniors in the district received Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. The law provides free coverage of key preventive services, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and annual wellness visits. 647,617 Medicare recipients statewide have already received free preventive services.
* 530 small businesses in the district received tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees.
* 140,000 people, including 37,000 children in western Wisconsin now have health insurance that covers preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. The law also provides, for those enrolled in new private plans, free coverage of key preventive services.
* 39,000 children with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage by health insurers. Insurers are prohibited from denying coverage to children for having a "pre-existing" condition. Now, these children are protected against insurer denials.
* $3.8 million in public health grants have been given to community health centers, hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers in the district to improve the community's health.
Health care reform ensures people have access to care when they need it most. It lowers the cost of care over time and protects the budgets of working families everywhere. It provides safety, stability, and access for millions of families and businesses. Health care reform is good for western Wisconsin and good for our nation. Now is not the time to turn back to the days of more uninsured, higher costs and larger budget deficits. Reform has started to transform our health care system into one that delivers higher quality care at a lower cost, eliminates waste in the system and increases the quality of care for all Americans.