Health Care Reform Signed into Law
As the health care debate steamed for months in Washington, D.C. and all over the country, the final vote finally came on Sunday evening, March 21 with a House vote of 220 to 211. The historic health care package President Obama signed into law on Tuesday, March 23, promises new health care benefits to all Americans, some of which will occur immediately and others which will begin in 2014.
The immediate benefits include temporary coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions, a situation faced by many people with disabling conditions. in 2014, this benefit would become permanent as insurers would no longer be allowed to deny coverage based on pre-existing coverage or charge them more.
It will also help those who have insurance by eliminating annual and lifetime caps on the expenses your health insurer pays on your behalf. Another benefit affects Medicare, a health care benefit that people with disabilities are entitled to after 24 months of receiving Social Security disability benefits. One of the key provisions is to close the Medicare Part D “donut hole” as well as other provisions to strengthen Medicare.
Additional benefits would come in 2014 when health insurance exchanges will be created to reduce the cost for individuals and small business to purchase health insurance coverage. Medicaid will also be expanded to include more people and tax credits will be issued to families to help pay for the cost of health insurance premiums.
The Committee on Energy and Commerce has provided a comprehensive list of publications to help the public better understand what health care reform promises to provide in the years ahead.