Rosa is determined to make health care more affordable for all Americans.
The Affordable Care Act: Reducing Health Care Costs
The Affordable Care Act will ensure that Americans have access to quality, affordable health care while reducing long-term health care costs. It will make health insurance affordable for middle class families and small businesses by reducing the rising costs of premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Millions of Americans will have access to affordable insurance choices through the exchanges that are established by the legislation. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined that it may provide coverage to 32 million more people while lowering health care costs over the long term.
The law also introduces new consumer protections and transparency to the insurance market. For example, beginning in fall 2012, new Summaries of Benefits and Coverage are available for health insurance plans. Insurers now have to clearly communicate basic information about their plans in a standardized format and plain English, such as deductibles, out of pocket expenses, and services not covered. The documents also include a couple of real life examples of how the plan would work. According to a recent FamiliesUSA report, more than 174 million Americans under 65 will benefit from these summaries, including over 90 percent of Americans insured through a job-based plan. That includes 2.3 million men and women under 65 in the state of Connecticut – over 75% of the non-elderly population.
The law also improved Medicare benefits by lowering prescription drug costs for those in the ‘donut hole.’ Insurance companies will now be held accountable – it is no longer acceptable to deny care and coverage for pre-existing conditions, impose lifetime coverage limits, or enact excessive premium increases. Recommended preventive care services – things like mammograms, colonoscopies, and cholesterol and diabetes screenings – are covered by insurance with no out-of-pocket costs. These services and the other changes because of the new law have the potential to save lives, and to transform our health care system.
How Connecticut Will Benefit from Health Care Reform
Here are just some of the benefits the citizens of Connecticut’s 3rd District have already seen from the Affordable Care Act:
- Approximately 520 small businesses have received tax credits to help maintain or improve the health insurance coverage for their employees
- 86,000 seniors in the district have received preventive services through Medicare with no out of pocket costs
- 7,100 seniors in the district have received prescription drug discounts valued at $4.5 million – an average discount of $630 per individual
- Refund checks will be mailed to over 12.5 million insurance consumers across the country, including 137,000 in Connecticut, this summer from companies that did not meet this minimum ratio.
- A total of $10.9 million in public health grants have been provided to health care providers, community health centers, and hospitals to help improve our community’s health
- Healthy CT has been awarded a $75 million loan to develop a new non-profit, consumer driven health insurance company, known as a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan or CO-OP
- The state has received grant funding from the Affordable Care Act for its insurance rate review work, and a proposed 20 percent rate hike was rejected by the Connecticut Insurance Department in December 2010
A 26-year survivor of ovarian cancer, Rosa is a leading advocate for funding biomedical research, including studies supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She works with colleagues to raise awareness of the need to invest in this work to save lives. This research is also critical to job growth, as every $1 invested in the NIH has been found to result in an additional $2 of business activity. As the senior Democrat on the subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, Rosa seeks to ensure strong funding levels for health and human service programs to help improve access to quality, affordable and effective health care. This includes research supported by the NIH, surveillance supported by the CDC, grants that support graduate and professional school education, and numerous other critical programs.
Rosa’s priority is making sure this research helps Americans. For example, she worked to reauthorize Johanna’s Law, ensuring women and their health care providers have access to information about gynecologic cancers, enabling earlier detection of these cancers in an effort to save lives. She introduced the Birth Defects Prevention, Risk Reduction, and Awareness Act to ensure that women and their health care providers have information about the potential impacts of medications, chemicals, foodborne illness, and other exposures to themselves and their infants. Rosa also introduced the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act which would ensure that women and their health care providers have access to the information about an individuals’ breast density to make informed health care decisions. She also continues to advocate for passage of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, a bill that would ensure that decisions about a woman’s hospital stay are made by the woman and her health care provider, not an insurance company.