As of January 1, Americans gained even more protections from skyrocketing health care costs and insurance company abuses as new provisions of the health care reform law took effect.
Starting January 1, insurance companies are required to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of premiums–the money you send them each month–on health care, not on overhead or executive salaries.
For seniors, the Medicare Part D donut hole continues to close. Their costs for brand-name medications will be cut in half when they reach the coverage gap, and over the next decade, that gap will be closed entirely. They’ll also get free preventive care under Medicare like mammograms and colonoscopies.
Meanwhile, new programs are going into effect to help improve the quality of care–and lower costs–by examining best practices and exploring innovative strategies for delivering care.
All this is in addition to the reforms that went into effect last year–from allowing young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents insurance, to helping small businesses cover their employees, to stopping insurance companies from taking away your health care if you get sick or discriminating against kids with pre-existing conditions.
Of course, the new year also brought with it a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and Speaker-elect Boehner has promised to repeal health care reform, taking away all these new protections and putting the insurance companies back in charge.
So let me put this as clearly as I can: It’s not gonna happen. In fact, some of my colleagues and I sent Speaker-elect Boehner a letter making it clear that we will absolutely not allow him to hurt families, worsen the deficit, and raise taxes on the middle class by repealing health care.
I want to thank you for making it possible for these new protections to go into effect–and for continuing to stand with us as we fight against the GOP’s efforts to take them away.
Together, we’ve done great things. And we can continue to do them in this new year.