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Issue Position: Health Care - Health Care Reform

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Health Care Reform

Over my time in Congress, I have received over 70,000 messages from constituents urging me to help fix our broken health system. In our current system, costs are skyrocketing, people who become sick are dropped from insurance, families are bankrupted by medical debt, and tens of millions have no coverage at all. After years of debate and deliberation, after too many nightmares have come to pass, health care reform is now law.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a critical step in achieving health care for all. While this is a comprehensive piece of legislation, a few key provisions stand out:
Establishes Crucial Consumer Protections in the Insurance Industry

* Bars insurance companies from discriminating based on pre-existing medical conditions, health status, and gender
* Prohibits lifetime and annual caps on coverage
* Allows parents to keep children on their health insurance until they turn 26
* Prevents rescissions -- the practice of dropping patients from coverage when they get sick

Contains Health Care Costs

* Pays health care providers based on the quality, not the quantity, of care they provide
* Encourages the formation of care models in which health care providers work together to manage patient care, allowing them to share in the savings they achieve
* Cracks down on fraud and abuse by strengthening screenings on new providers and increasing penalties on bad actors
* Focuses on prevention by eliminating patient co-pays for preventive services in Medicare, Medicaid, and private plans, and promoting individual and community health through targeted initiatives

Expands Coverage

* Extends coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans
* Establishes state-run health insurance exchanges, in which individuals, families and small businesses can shop for insurance
* Provides tax relief to individuals and small businesses to help them with the costs of insurance
* Provides federal support to states to cover low-income individuals through the Medicaid program

Strengthens Medicare

* Fills the Medicare doughnut hole gradually over ten years; in 2010, Medicare beneficiaries who are in the doughnut hole will receive a $250 rebate
* Provides better chronic care, with doctors collaborating to provide patient-centered care for the 80 percent of older Americans who have at least one chronic medical condition like high blood pressure or diabetes
* Reduces overpayments to private Medicare Advantage plans
* Adds at least nine years to the solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund

Finally, this legislation is fully paid for by revenue provisions within the health care system. In fact, the legislation reduces the deficit in the next ten years and beyond. If we did not act, over the next decade, national health care spending was estimated to increase faster than our economy is expected to grow, creating a dangerous situation for taxpayers. This legislation takes a responsible step forward, both fiscally and socially.
Three additional documents may be useful. They are:

* A Summary of the bill
* An outline of the Specific Benefits for residents of the 2nd Congressional District
* A Timeline of the implementation of the legislation

Ensuring access to health care for all Americans is the goal that brought me to Congress, and the cause that keeps me here. I helped to pass legislation that will take an enormous step toward delivering on that promise. We are not done; and I will continue to work tirelessly to make sure we make our system fair and equitable for every American. But I am proud of the health care reform legislation we passed.

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