Today, Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman released a new report on the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Los Angeles County. The report describes the number of Los Angeles County residents who are receiving new benefits and consumer protections provided by the historic health care reform law.
One new benefit of the ACA described in the report requires that health insurers and employers provide easy-to-understand summaries of benefits and coverage under their health care plans. The requirement applies to all new plans or renewals after today. A common complaint among millions of Americans has been the lack of clear information about what their health plan actually covers. This new benefit from the health reform law will fix that.
Today's report shows that because of the ACA, 4.7 million Los Angeles County residents with private insurance will receive clear and comparable information about their health plans and coverage expected under that plan.
Rep. Waxman joined local Los Angeles health leaders and residents benefitting from the law for a press conference in Los Angeles today to introduce the reports and share successes of the ACA.
"I am proud to see that the law I worked so hard to pass is improving the lives of so many Los Angeles County residents," said Rep. Waxman. "The law ends the worst abuses of the insurance industry and is already helping millions of Los Angelenos. It improves Medicare for Los Angeles seniors. It means free preventive care for Los Angeles women. And it helps Los Angeles small businesses afford coverage."
"The Affordable Care Act is the promise of health for thousands of families across our community," said Elizabeth Benson Forer, executive director of Venice Family Clinic. "For the first time ever, many of Venice Family Clinic's patients--young adults, working parents, and seniors--will have now access to health insurance."
"Finally, our patients can be secure in knowing they will be able to see a doctor without the risk of financial ruin," said Karen Lamp, M.D., medical director of Venice Family Clinic. "Our patients can now have confidence in a healthy future for themselves and their families."
"Because of Congressman Waxman's efforts, my sister, Emily, was able to have experimental life-saving surgery," said Daniel Block, a Los Angeles resident and UCLA student. "Our family was depending on ACA to pass so that Emily's surgery would be covered under my parents' insurance. Today, I am pleased to report that Emily is no longer bedridden and is a thriving student at Tufts University studying Occupational Therapy."
The report finds that as a result of the new law, 830,000 seniors in Los Angeles County have received free Medicare preventive services; more than 76,000 seniors have saved over $40 million in drug costs; 240,000 young adults who would otherwise be uninsured now have health insurance through their parents' health care plans; 580,000 children with pre-existing medical conditions can get health coverage; and 7,400 small businesses have received tax credits to help provide health care coverage for their employees. This year, 1.3 million women will receive coverage of preventive benefits, including family planning counseling and FDA-approved contraceptives, at no charge.
When the law goes fully into effect, more than 2.2 million residents of Los Angeles County who currently lack coverage will have access to affordable health care coverage for the first time.
A series of 67 city-by-city reports released today contain information on how the law is helping seniors, young adults, children, small businesses, health care providers, and thousands of others in each city in Los Angeles County.