Implementing The Affordable Care Act & Strengthening Medicare
Members of the House Democratic Caucus believe that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health insurance. Our actions have shown our commitment. Recently, the Affordable Care Act has given the 46 million uninsured Americans the opportunity to access affordable, quality health insurance and strengthened Medicare by providing free preventive benefits and lowering drug costs for millions of beneficiaries while extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund. House Democrats continue to support adequate funding for essential medical research that improves the health of Americans through the creation of life savings therapies and technologies and strengthens the competitiveness of our domestic medical research industry. Ensuring the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the continued strengthening of Medicare are priorities for Members of the House Democratic Caucus.
The Affordable Care Act
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This law is putting Americans and their families, not the health insurance companies, back in charge of their health care decisions. The Affordable Care Act is about securing affordable, quality and accessible health care as a right, not a privilege, for every American; yet it is also about wellness and prevention, economic security and entrepreneurship, the well-being of working families and the strength of the middle class. In short, this historic law is about a healthier America.
The Affordable Care Act is working. It’s giving millions of middle class Americans the health security they deserve. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 8 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance coverage through the Marketplaces. Over 3 million young adults gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Act by being able to stay on their parents plans. An additional 3 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid due to the Affordable Care Act. And 5 million Americans enrolled in health insurance plans outside the Marketplaces that meet the basic coverage standards put into place by the Affordable Care Act.
Since the law passed, health care costs are growing at the slowest rate on record stretching back to 1960. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the deficit will shrink more and premiums will be lower than expected thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And for the fifth straight year, the CBO projects Medicare will continue to reduce costs and improve quality across the health care system, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
House Democrats are working hard to guarantee quality, affordable health care coverage. Today, consumer-friendly marketplaces will enable families and individuals who are uninsured or buy their own coverage to buy quality, affordable coverage. The majority of uninsured Americans will have access to subsidies to make their insurance more affordable. All plans in the marketplaces will offer at least the minimum essential health benefits. The insurance industry will be more transparent than ever, with summaries of coverage and premiums available for every plan in the marketplace. There will be no annual limits on coverage for any patient and everyone will be guaranteed the availability of health insurance, regardless of medical history or pre-existing conditions. Because of the Affordable Care Act:
- If you are a young adult, you can now stay on your parents’ health plan until your 26th birthday, if you do not have coverage of your own.
- If you are among 4 million eligible small businesses, you can receive tax credits if you choose to offer coverage to your employees – covering 35% of the cost of coverage.
- If you are a child under age 19, you can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company for having a “pre-existing condition.”
- Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage. Such limits have caused some families to declare bankruptcy.
- If you are a senior, you will now be receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs if you enter the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ coverage gap – a discount that grows until the ‘donut hole’ is closed in 2020.
- You can no longer be dropped from coverage by your insurance company simply because you get sick.
- Your insurance company can no longer place restrictive annual or lifetime limits on your coverage – with annual limits completely eliminated by 2014.
- If you are in a new plan, you now have free coverage of key preventive services, such as immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings.
- Your insurance company must now spend at least 80 percent of premiums on covering medical services – rather than administrative expenses, CEO pay, and profits.
- Your insurance company must now publish on the Internet detailed justifications for any premium increases they are seeking that are more than 10 percent.
Visit HealthCare.gov to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and your new health care rights and choices.
The Affordable Care Act improves coverage for Medicare patients by providing free key preventive services, such as immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings and reduced their drug costs. At the same time, the Affordable Care Act extended the life of the Medicare Trust Funds, slowing the growth in Medicare spending, by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the system. The table below shows how Medicare spending has slowed since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.