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Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Madam Speaker, when it comes to health care in the United States low-income and minority people are underserved and uninsured, with this in mind the health care reform legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on March 23 of 2010. This law ensures that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that this law will provide coverage to 32 million more people, or more than 95 percent of Americans, while at the same time lowering health care costs over the long term and reducing the deficit by $138 billion through 2019, with $1.2 trillion additional deficit reduction in the following 10 years.
When considering this law I cannot help but think of the 52,000 children and families from the 7th district of Illinois that do not have coverage or have low-quality health care coverage. The Affordable Care Act provides the following benefits to these individuals:
Improves coverage for 334,000 residents with health insurance.
Gives tax credits and other assistance to up to 158,000 families and 14,100 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
Improves Medicare for 76,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole. Extends coverage to 52,000 uninsured residents.
Guarantees that 11,500 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
Protects 1500 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
Allows 60,000 young adults up to the age of 26 to obtain coverage on their parents' insurance plans.
Provides millions of dollars in new funding for 92 community health centers.
Reduces the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $222 million annually.
The Affordable Care Act will help begin to fill the Medicare Part D drug doughnut hole to reduce the cost burden for 76,000 beneficiaries in my district. It's going to extend coverage to 52,500 uninsured individuals who currently go to the county hospital. This legislation, in my mind, is the most impactful health legislation that we have seen since Medicare and Medicaid. The positive impact of this law extends beyond my district, to every district in our country.
The Affordable Care Act provides new ways to bring down costs and improve the quality of care for every individual, including those individuals who historically have had little to no health coverage. This is evident because each year more than 83,000 racial and ethnic minorities die as a result of lacking access to high quality and culturally competent health care. In turn, this cost us more than $300 billion every year. I am so thankful that there is finally equal access to health care coverage. We should be proud that now children, the elderly, low-income, and minorities can equally access preventative services, primary physicians, and urgent care. I believe the expansion of coverage to these individuals has a major impact on the health of the current generation, as well as future generations.
This law ensures that more than 17.6 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied quality coverage. It also allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance up to age 26. Now, 410,000 African-American and 736,000 Latino, young adults between the ages of 19-25, who would have been uninsured are now covered under their parents' health insurance. To date about 6.6 million young adults up to age 26 have already taken advantage of this section of the law, and have to obtained health coverage through their parents' plan. Considering 3.1 million of those young adults would be uninsured without this coverage, this law has made a major impact in young peoples' lives. I believe it is imperative to the future well-being of our country that we provide the upcoming generations with this form of adequate and equal healthcare coverage.
In addition, the law now includes a section regarding funding to states for home visitation programs. The funding provides a critical opportunity for federal, state, and local communities to improve the health and well-being of children and families. Quality, early childhood visitation is a proven and cost-effective method to improve schools readiness, well-being, and health for children and families. I truly believe in the importance of this provision that is
why we have worked bipartisantly for over five years to establish these evidenced based prevention grants to prepare our youngest citizens for success in school and life.
Older adults spend more money on health related costs than any other age group and they have the most health related needs, for this reason I am grateful that this law extends coverage to older adults. I am proud that we can now rest assured because, 4.5 million African American and 3.9 million Latino elderly and disabled who receive Medicare will have expanded access to preventative services with no cost-sharing, including annual wellness visits with personalized prevention plans, diabetes and colorectal cancer screening, bone mass measurements and mammograms. In fact, during 2011, 2.3 million seniors had a free Annual Wellness Visit under Medicare. We have seen this law continue to help older adults during 2012, with already 1.1 million seniors receiving a free visit within the past six months. We should also note that in 2011, 32.5 million seniors received one or more free preventive services. I believe this is outstanding, and with 14 million seniors having already received these services this year, we can anticipate even more seniors being served by the end 2012.
I am proud that the Affordable Care Act also includes the Community First Choice Option, it is a provision I have worked very hard on. This law is a major step forward to ending Medicaid's institutional bias by allowing states to give individuals with disabilities who are Medicaid eligible and who require an institutional level of care to choose between receiving care at home or in a nursing facility. Receiving community-based services and supports is critical to allowing people to lead independent lives, play an active role in day-to-day family life, have jobs, and participate in their communities. These are services our older adult population and citizens with disabilities need. It will keep them stronger and healthier longer.
I am extremely happy that in 2014 Medicaid coverage will expand to include families with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Our public health care system is overloaded and stretched past the breaking point and the extension of Medicaid is critical to sustaining that system. This expansion will now include adults without dependent children living at home; this is a population that has previously not been eligible in most states. This ensures that all individuals have equal access to health care coverage. I will be watching closely to ensure that this provision of the law is implemented in a manner consistent with the best interests of the American people.
The Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage to minority and low-income individuals, who have historically had the lowest heath care coverage. In fact, it is estimated that by 2016, 3.8 million African Americans and 5.4 million Latinos, who would otherwise be uninsured will gain coverage. This means that by 2016, 6.2 million Americans who would otherwise have to go to the emergency room for a minor ear ache now has the opportunity to go to a primary physician at a medical home. Also, starting in August, millions of women will begin receiving free coverage for a package of comprehensive women's preventive services. This allows us to anticipate lower rates of prenatal medical issues and that future generations will be born healthy.
The law also provides funding to improve quality of care and management of chronic diseases that are more prevalent amongst African Americans and Latinos. This will ensure that individuals with chronic diseases can receive the medication and care needed for their wellbeing. It is reassuring to know that 105 million Americans will no longer have a lifetime limit on their coverage.
I feel that one of the greatest benefits of the Affordable Care Act are the laws that assists medical institutions in eliminating disparities that both African Americans and Latinos face in their heath care services. More funding is now going towards data collection and research about health disparities. The second part of this funding extends to increase racial and ethnic diversity of health care professionals and strengthen cultural competency training among providers. This will improve diversity and equality in the health care industry. In fact it is estimated that by 2014 the percentage of African Americans in the National Service Corps will increase from 6 percent to 18 percent, and the percentage of Latinos will increase from 5 percent to 21 percent. This is an amazing improvement that I am proud to witness during my service. I hope that this increase in diversity inspires and empowers the next generation of doctors, nurses and surgeons to advocate for even further health care equality for all people.
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