Chris Pennock is a Working America member here in Minnesota, and he’s had a unique few months. He...
We're fighting to make sure all children are insured, regardless of income level, and to make sure every senior has affordable access to the prescription drugs they need.
When we or our families get sick, nothing matters more than getting the care we need. For too long, everyone we talk to has been afraid they’d lose coverage, be denied care or go broke from an unexpected health crisis.
After a year of letters, calls, rallies and congressional visits, we passed a bill—the Affordable Care Act—that will help everyone get quality, affordable health care that can’t be taken away.
In the months since the health care fight, our members are discovering the real benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Even people who were skeptical and uncertain when the bill passed are finding something to like. Health care is something that affects all of us, and already, parents are able to keep their kids on their policies, seniors are paying less for drugs and insurance companies can’t kick people off of their policies when they get sick.
Here’s what the health care bill already has accomplished:
- Stops insurance companies from denying children health care because of pre-existing conditions (and this prohibition will apply to coverage for everyone in 2014).
- Outlawed lifetime caps on benefits and the practice of dropping coverage for people who get sick.
- Allows young people to stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26.
- Requires rebates from insurers if they spend more than 15 percent of premium dollars on marketing, profits, executive salaries or administrative expenses.
- Provides free preventive care under new private plans and to those in Medicare, and to those covered under all plans by 2018.
- Made prescription drugs more affordable for seniors by providing a $250 rebate for seniors who hit the Medicare Part D doughnut and then a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the doughnut hole, which will be phased out and closed completely by 2020.
- Reduces the cost of coverage for retirees who are at least 55 years old and not eligible for Medicare through a new program that helps offset costs of expensive health claims for retirees.
- Makes a new investment in training programs for primary care doctors, nurses and public health professionals.
Here’s what the bill will accomplish over the next decade and beyond:
- Lowers premiums by 14 percent to 20 percent for those who buy coverage on their own—and over time, it will lower costs for all plans.
- Expands coverage for 32 million Americans, with about half of them getting coverage through new “insurance exchanges” that provide coverage options under plans that must meet rules on benefits and premiums.
- Prohibits insurers from charging higher rates for women and limits the ability to set premiums based on age.
- Helps small businesses and uninsured individuals get affordable coverage with subsidies for low- and moderate-income workers.
- Projected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $1.3 trillion over the next two decades and to increase Medicare solvency by almost a decade.
- Paid for with a progressive tax on the wealthiest Americans, requiring that Medicare contributions be paid on unearned income. Working families’ activism also helped make sure employers pay a fairer share of health costs for their employees.
How did Working America help achieve the health care victory?
Working America talked with more than 210,000 people at their front doors, generating 30,000 signatures for health care petitions, 31,000 phone calls to Congress, 40,000 e-mails and 75,000 letters urging lawmakers to pass reform.