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Stabenow Leads Effort To Make Health Insurance Affordable And Available For Michigan Families

Press Release

Location: Washington, D.C.

Stabenow Leads Effort To Make Health Insurance Affordable And Available For Michigan Families

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, announced her support of the health care legislation that will be agreed to by the committee next week. America's Healthy Future Act makes it easier for families and small businesses without insurance to purchase health insurance while at the same time increasing their choices. People who currently have insurance will benefit from better coverage and new rules that make insurance companies treat them fairly.

"After many months of hard work, we have drafted a bill to make health insurance more affordable for those who have it and more accessible for those who don't. For the people of Michigan, I am pleased to have led the effort to give families and businesses tax credits that will put quality health insurance within their reach," said Stabenow. "We have also created a safety net so if you lose your job, your family won't lose their health care. I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen this legislation even further as it moves to the Senate floor."

Making Health Insurance Affordable for Families and Small Businesses:

America's Healthy Future Act provides states with the ability to negotiate with health insurers to provide a basic health plan that is affordable for working families. Senator Stabenow helped champion tax credits to make insurance affordable for middle-class families. Businesses with less than 25 employees will receive a tax credit to provide health insurance for their workers. The Act also creates a health exchange where small businesses will be able to purchase health insurance at affordable rates just like big businesses. Finally, it creates a safety net for families in Michigan and across the country so if you lose your job your family won't lose your health care.

Strengthening Medicare for Our Seniors:

This bill will improve Medicare coverage for seniors and the disabled. It lowers the cost of prescription drugs by 50 percent in the Medicare Part D "donut hole." Senator Stabenow successfully authored a provision to provide people enrolled in Medicare Part D plans with more opportunities to sample generic medicines free of charge. Seniors under Medicare will benefit from free annual doctor visits to screen for health risks like diabetes and cancer and address chronic health problems such as high blood pressure. All out-of-pocket costs for recommended preventive care and screenings are eliminated. Senator Stabenow also championed a provision that establishes a program to protect seniors from abuse in nursing homes and requiring background checks for employees at long-term care facilities.

Improving Access to Health Care:

States will establish an "exchange" that provides an easy, efficient place for consumers to compare health insurance plans. Americans will be able to choose from existing insurance plans, non-profit plans, or consumer owned and oriented plans called CO-Ops.

In America's Healthy Future Act, all health insurance plans must provide preventative and primary care, emergency services, hospitalization coverage, surgical care, anesthesia, diagnostic imaging (e.g., x-rays and MRIs), maternity and newborn care, pediatric services (including dental and vision), prescription drugs, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and mental health and substance abuse services. Furthermore, Senator Stabenow, a long-time champion of mental health care, authored the amendment to guarantee that coverage for mental health and substance abuse services are included. This bill also ensures young people in college or who are just starting their careers will have health insurance. It allows them to remain on their parents' insurance coverage up to the age of 26.

Reforming the Health Insurance Industry:

This bill will stop insurance companies from denying coverage or hiking up rates for those with pre-existing conditions and from dropping coverage or reducing benefits for those who get sick. It will stop insurance companies from charging different premium rates based on gender, health status, family history or occupation. Additionally, the America's Healthy Future Act will stop insurance companies from putting limits on how much coverage you can use each year and over your lifetime. Through this legislation insurance companies will be required to treat consumers fairly.

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