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Opinion - Opinion
Health care reform: Good deal for millionsTell North Platte what you think

During a week in which the Republican-controlled House voted for the 38th time to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, they can’t hide from the fact that millions of Americans are already benefiting from the law.

Instead of working with President Obama and Democrats to make sure this historic health insurance reform provides better benefits and lowers costs, Republicans chose yet again to turn back the clock on middle class families.

Make no mistake, Republicans’ real goal is to return to the days of letting seniors pay more for prescription drugs, forcing kids off their parents insurance plans before they turn 26, and denying people coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

It’s time Republicans stop playing partisan games and start working on legislation that will actually help working Americans.

They need to stop standing with insurance companies and start standing with Nebraskans.

This week Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released new reports showing how the Affordable Care Act is already benefitting Americans.

The report says that in Nebraska’s Third Congressional District, as a result of the law:

• 5,000 young adults in the district now have health insurance through their parents’ plan.

• More than 10,100 seniors in the district received prescription drug discounts worth $13.5 million, an average discount of $620 per person in 2011, $670 in 2012, and $830 thus far in 2013.

• 123,000 seniors in the district are now eligible for Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductible.

• 177,000 individuals in the district – including 39,000 children and 70,000 women – now have health insurance that covers preventive services without any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductible.

• 142,000 individuals in the district are saving money due to ACA provisions that prevent insurance companies from spending more than 20% of their premiums on profits and administrative overhead. Because of these protections, over 14,900 consumers in the district received approximately $2.2 million in insurance company rebates in 2012 and 2011 – an average rebate of $82 per family in 2012 and $215 per family in 2011.

• Up to 35,000 children in the district with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage by health insurers.

• 211,000 individuals in the district now have insurance that cannot place lifetime limits on their coverage and will not face annual limits on coverage starting in 2014.

• Up to 70,000 individuals in the district who lack health insurance will have access to quality, affordable coverage without fear of discrimination or higher rates because of a preexisting health condition. (1)

• In addition, the 60,000 individuals who currently purchase private health insurance on the individual or small group market will have access to more secure, higher quality coverage and many will be eligible for financial assistance.

(1) Presently, coverage for many of these individuals – those with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level – is in doubt. The ACA provides for the fully funded expansion of Medicaid to cover these individuals. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that the decision to take these funds and provide this coverage is at the discretion of the Governor and the Legislature. To date, the Governor and Legislature have not approved the expansion of Medicaid to these individuals, putting their access to affordable coverage in doubt.)

By Vince Powers, Chairman, Nebraska Democratic Party

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 7/19/2013
Copyright © 2013 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
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