Two years ago today, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, representing a significant step toward health care reform. The purpose of the ACA was to make healthcare accessible and affordable for the millions of Americans without health insurance, and many Nebraskans are already benefitting from the reform measures that have gone into effect in the last two years. For example:
- As of June 2011, 15,280 young adults in Nebraska gained insurance coverage as a result of the new health care law.
- The Medicare prescription brand-name drug discount saved Nebraskans $15,175,406 in 2011, and those on Medicare will continue to save money on their prescriptions as the donut hole closes.
- 54 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 359,000 in Nebraska.
- 701,000 Nebraskans no longer have to worry about lifetime limits on coverage, and in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to place annual limits on coverage– something that is very important for those with critical illnesses, such as cancer.
The ACA also requires that insurance companies give you real value for your premium dollar by spending 80-85% of those dollars on actual medical care. And the law gives states support to build the health care workforce, crack down on fraud, and improve public health.
While the ACA has made a real difference in the lives of many Nebraskans, countless more will benefit in 2014 when additional consumer protections go into effect, and new health insurance marketplaces make purchasing health insurance easier and more affordable.
Today, Nebraska Appleseed gathered with other advocates who worked tirelessly for health care reform to celebrate the passage of this historic law. Included in that celebration were some of the children who will see those promised benefits–kids who won’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, who will be covered under their parents’ insurance until age 26, and who won’t have to question whether they’ll have access to the care they need.
So, join us in saying: happy second birthday, ACA!