Health Care
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Improving and Expanding Care

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010, millions of Americans have seen lower costs and better coverage, including thousands of people in New York’s 21st Congressional District from young adults to seniors to children with pre-existing conditions.  As a result of the ACA, in the 21st District:

 • 5,900 young adults have health coverage through their parents’ insurance.

 • 8,700 seniors have received prescription drug discounts worth $14 million, an average discount of $710 per person in 2011, $810 in 2012, and $670 to date in 2013.

 • 138,000 seniors are eligible for Medicare preventive services without a copayment or deductible.

 • 38,500 consumers have received approximately $4.5 million in insurance company rebates – an average rebate of $92 per family in 2012 and $138 per family in 2011 – due to ACA provisions that prevent insurance companies from spending more than 20% of their premiums on profits and administrative overhead.

 As we move forward with implementation of the law, one of the most significant benefits becomes available on October 1st, 2013, when health insurance marketplaces will open in all 50 states.  Our health insurance marketplace is the New York Heath Benefit Exchange, where consumers will use a comprehensive website to compare insurance plans and apply for high-quality, affordable coverage.  This transparent, efficient, one-stop site will also help consumers determine what financial assistance they are eligible for under the law. The cost of insurance through the New York Health Benefit Exchange will be significantly cheaper than currently available plans, which has been reported here and here.

 To learn more about the New York insurance marketplace, which launches on October 1st, visit: http://healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/

 Controlling Costs

Before passage of the Affordable Care Act, total health spending was rising at an alarming rate. Had we done nothing, we were on track to spend $1 out of every $5 we earned on health care within a decade.  In New York State, the ACA is clearly reversing this trend.  In northeastern New York, the Adirondack Region Medical Home Pilot has demonstrated reduced hospital admissions and readmissions, and reduced monthly per-patient Medicare expenditures.   The concept of the medical home, which is a comprehensive, coordinated approach to providing care, is one of the new approaches to health care delivery funded by the ACA.  Nationwide, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that health spending grew by 3.9 percent each year from 2009 to 2011, the lowest rate of growth since the federal government began tracking health spending in 1960. As provisions in the law including accountable care organizations, bundled payments, medical homes, and value-based purchasing continue to encourage the shift towards paying for quality of care over quantity, patient health will improve and costs will drop. 

To learn more about how New York State is implementing the Affordable Care Act, visit: http://www.healthcarereform.ny.gov/

 Future Improvements

Although the ACA will soon expand affordable health insurance to 27 million Americans while lowering health care costs, no piece of legislation is ever perfect.  I supported several bills in the 112th Congress to revise the health care law, including the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act (P.L. 112-9), to repeal a provision that would have required businesses to send Form 1099s for every business-to-business transaction over $600. In the 113th Congress, I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 523, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which would repeal the medical device excise tax.

As we continue to work to improve the health care system, it is critical that we rely on objective analysis that provides Congress with bipartisan options for amending the health reform law to better accomplish its two primary goals – improving care and reducing costs. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move past the rhetoric and achieve this goal in the 113th Congress.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/

 

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