Today, Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24) released the following statement on the President's speech on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act:
I am pleased President Obama addressed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act this morning. As the president said, the product is good and the demand is there. People are seeking out high-quality, affordable healthcare.
The problems with the federal website simply must be addressed, but the good news is that Covered California -- while experiencing heavy traffic-related difficulties when it first opened-- has largely avoided the glitches seen elsewhere or in the federal healthcare.gov exchange. That's why nearly 100,000 applications have already been started by Californians who want to finally be able to have affordable, high quality health care. In addition, more than 1.5 million unique visits were made to www.CoveredCA.com and more than 100,000 people called the Covered California hotline over the first two weeks. And once you do apply under Covered California, insurers must accept eligible applications--they can no longer exclude people with preexisting health conditions from coverage. This is a great step for individuals and families who are looking at their options and on their way to finding the best plan to fit their individual needs.
In addition, many people are already seeing the benefits from health care reform. Insurance companies cannot place lifetime limits on coverage, and people will no longer face annual coverage limits on coverage. Young adults can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26, and more people have access to preventative services. On the Central Coast alone, 11,000 young adults now have health insurance on their parents' plan, 113,000 seniors are now eligible for Medicare preventive services and about 36,000 children with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage. And, thanks to the expansion of Medicaid made possible by the Affordable Care Act, more than 600,000 working class Californians have already signed up insurance coverage through Medi-Cal in 2014. This is key to eliminating uncompensated care, which all of us with insurance subsidize.
And while the delays on any of the exchange websites are unacceptable and will be fixed, it is important to note that the Affordable Care Act is much more than a website -- it is quality, affordable health insurance, new innovations for coordinated care, a focus on prevention to keep us all healthier and more productive, and a shift to allow individuals--not insurance companies--to take control of their health care. In just these first few weeks, nearly half a million applications for health insurance have been submitted through both state and federal marketplaces. These numbers prove how urgently Americans want and need access to their new health care options.
December 15 is the last day to buy coverage that would begin January 1. Enrollment for this cycle ends on March 31. People in California interested in reviewing their insurance options should visit CoveredCA.com or call 1-800-300-1506."