Today U.S. Rep. Gary Peters marked Saturday as the 3rd anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law by highlighting the many ways it's helping families across Michigan. Peters also voiced his disappointment with Lansing Republicans for putting ideology above practical problem solving by refusing to partner in the health care exchange marketplace.
"In the three years since the Affordable Care Act became law, thousands of Michigan families have benefitted from increased and improved health care coverage,"said U.S. Rep. Gary Peters. "Making investments in the health of our families is vital to improving our local economy while ensuring a brighter future for Michigan, that's why we must work together to keep moving forward. While we've seen such positive results from the Affordable Care Act, I was very disappointed to see Lansing Republicans putting ideology ahead of problem solving by refusing to participate in the health care marketplace exchange."
In the three years since Health Care Reform became law, here's how it's helping families in Michigan.
Providing new coverage options for young adults
Health plans are now required to allow parents to keep their children under age 26 without job-based coverage on their family coverage, and, thanks to this provision, 3.1 million young people have gained coverage nationwide. As of December 2011, 94,000 young adults in Michigan gained insurance coverage as a result of the health care law.
Making prescription drugs affordable for seniors
The Affordable Care Act makes prescription drug coverage (Part D) for people with Medicare more affordable. It does this by gradually closing the gap in drug coverage known as the "donut hole." Since the enactment of the law, 6.1 million Americans with Medicare who reached the donut hole have saved over $5.7 billion on prescription drugs. Nationwide, drug savings of $2.5 billion in 2012 were higher than the $2.3 billion in savings for 2011. In Michigan, people with Medicare saved over $153.4 million on prescription drugs since the law's enactment. In 2012 alone, 106,707 individuals in Michigan saved over $79.3 million, or an average of $744 per beneficiary. In 2012, people with Medicare in the "donut hole" received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent discount on generic drugs. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs will continue to increase over time until the coverage gap is closed.
Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay
The health care law requires many insurance plans to provide coverage without cost sharing to enrollees for a variety of preventive health services, such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults. The law also makes proven preventive services free for most people on Medicare.
In 2011 and 2012, 71 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 2,386,000 in Michigan. And for policies renewing on or after August 1, 2012, women can now get coverage without cost-sharing of even more preventive services they need. Approximately 47 million women, including 1,557,614 in Michigan will now have guaranteed access to additional preventive services without cost-sharing.
The Affordable Care Act is also removing barriers for people with Medicare. With no deductibles or co-pays, cost is no longer a barrier for seniors and people with disabilities who want to stay healthy by detecting and treating health problems early. In 2012 alone, an estimated 34.1 million people with Medicare benefited from Medicare's coverage of preventive services with no cost-sharing. In Michigan, 989,673 individuals with traditional Medicare used one or more free preventive service in 2012.
Providing better value for your premium dollar through the 80/20 Rule
Under the new health care law, insurance companies must provide consumers greater value by spending generally at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care and quality improvements instead of overhead, executive salaries or marketing. If they don't, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums. This means that 113,995 Michigan residents with private insurance coverage will benefit from $13,908,262 in rebates from insurance companies this year, for an average rebate of $214 per family covered by a policy.
Scrutinizing unreasonable premium increases
In every State and for the first time under Federal law, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more. Michigan has received $4,994,728 under the new law to help fight unreasonable premium increases.
Removing lifetime limits on health benefits
The law bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits -- freeing cancer patients and individuals suffering from other chronic diseases from having to worry about going without treatment because of their lifetime limits. Already, 3,547,000 people in Michigan, including 1,315,000 women and 977,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.
Creating new coverage options for individuals with pre-existing conditions
As of August 2012, 2,204 previously uninsured residents of Michigan who were locked out of the coverage system because of a pre-existing condition are now insured through a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan that was created under the new health reform law. To learn more about the plan available in Michigan, check here.
Preventing illness and promoting health (Last Updated: March 15, 2012)
Since 2010, Michigan has received $22,800,000 in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act. This new fund was created to support effective policies in Michigan, its communities, and nationwide so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives.
Increasing support for community health centers and primary care clinicians
The Affordable Care Act increases the funding available to community health centers nationwide. In Michigan, 32 health centers operate 194 sites, providing preventive and primary health care services to 546,245 people. Health Center grantees in Michigan have received $94,190,040 under the Affordable Care Act to support ongoing health center operations and to establish new health center sites, expand services, and/or support major capital improvement projects.
As a result of historic investments through the Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Act, the numbers of clinicians in the National Health Service Corps are at all-time highs with nearly 10,000 Corps clinicians providing care to more than 10.4 million people who live in rural, urban, and frontier communities. The National Health Service Corps repays educational loans and provides scholarships to primary care physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, behavioral health providers, and other primary care providers who practice in areas of the country that have too few health care professionals to serve the people who live there. As of September 30, 2012, there were 326 Corps clinicians providing primary care services in Michigan compared to 162 in 2008.
Strengthening partnerships with Michigan
The law gives states support for their work to build the health care workforce, crack down on fraud, and support public health. These partnerships help ensure that health care providers are working where they are needed most - in both urban and rural areas. They ensure that half a million people annually get access to HIV/AIDS treatment and access to high quality primary care services.
Examples of Affordable Care Act grants to Michigan not outlined above include:
$1,095,000 to support the National Health Service Corps, by assisting Michigan's State Loan Repayment Program in repaying educational loans of health care professionals in return for their practice in health professional shortage areas.
$2,030,537 for the Personal and Home Care Aide State Training Program, which will help train key health care aides and strengthen the direct care worker workforce.
$1,791,720 for the expansion of the Physician Assistant Training Program a five-year initiative to increase the number of physician assistants in the primary care workforce.
$7,588,799 for school-based health centers to help clinics expand their capacity to provide more health care services and modernize their facilities.
$287,100 for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, organizations run by and for families with children with special health care needs.
$13,557,348 for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs. These programs bring health professionals, social workers, or paraprofessionals to meet with at-risk families in their homes and connect families to the kinds of help that can make a real difference in a child's health, development, and ability to learn - such as health care, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition.