NHDP - Hundreds Rally Across the State to Thank New Hampshire's Democratic Congressional Delegation

Hundreds Rally Across the State to Thank New Hampshire's Democratic
Congressional Delegation and Celebrate the Historic Passage of the
Affordable Health Care for America Act
 
Concord - Earlier today, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Today also marks the third consecutive day Granite Staters have gathered across the state to hold "thank you" rallies and house parties to celebrate this landmark achievement.

 

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Congressman Paul Hodes, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen were instrumental in passing the historic legislation.  And supporters across the state have been calling their offices, writing letters, donating money, and even turning up at their local offices in record numbers to thank the Democratic delegation for all of their hard work.

 

"The mood across the state is electrifying," said Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.  "This is the most energized Granite State Democrats have been since our historic victories in 2008.   Passing this bill has reinvigorated support for Democrats here in New Hampshire and across the country."

 

"But more importantly, this legislation is transforming the lives of the 140,000+ Granite Staters without health care and provides a critical lifeline to the thousands more that are struggling with costs that are spiraling out of control," continued Buckley.

 

Laura Mick is one of the Granite Staters particularly excited about the reform.  Laura was diagnosed with a condition called hydrocephalus or "water on the brain" when she was one-month old.  Throughout her life she has been denied insurance by every insurance provider in the state because of her pre-existing condition - putting her in a dangerous position should she ever require another extensive surgery. 

 

The passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act will mean that people like Laura will never have to worry about being denied coverage by the insurance industry.

 

"I'm partying like its 1999!" said Laura.  "This legislation literally means life or death for people with pre-existing conditions."

 

Scott Baetz, a small business owner, also couldn't contain his excitement about the reform.   "This is the most monumental piece of legislation passed in my life time," Scott said.  "Over the past few years I've had to dramatically scale back the health care coverage I could offer my employees.  But the small business tax credits in this bill will go a long way toward helping me deal with these runaway costs."

 

In addition to the small business tax credits of up to 35%, the legislation will immediately do a number of things to cut costs, expand coverage, and rein in the most abusive insurance industry practices.  In particular the legislation will immediately do the following:

 

  • BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE - Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010.  Effective for calendar year 2010.  (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)

  • FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE - Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program.  Effective beginning January 1, 2011.

  • HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES - Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees for health benefits for retirees age 55-64.  Effective 90 days after enactment.

  • ENDS RESCISSIONS - Bans insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.  Effective 6 months after enactment.

  • NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING  CONDITIONS - Prohibits new health plans in all markets plus grandfathered group health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.  Effective 6 months after enactment.  (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to all persons.)

  • BANS LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE - Prohibits health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage.  Effective 6 months after enactment.

  • BANS RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE - Tightly restricts the use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care in all new plans and grandfathered group health plans.  These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS.  Effective 6 months after enactment.  (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all new plans and grandfathered group health plans.)

  • FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PRIVATE PLANS - Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles.  Effective 6 months after enactment.

  • NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS - Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions by their health insurance plan.  Effective 6 months after enactment.

  • ENSURING VALUE FOR PREMIUM PAYMENTS - Requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent.  Insurers that do not meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders.  Effective on January 1, 2011.

  • IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED UNTIL EXCHANGE IS AVAILABLE (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL) - Provides immediate access to affordable insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition - through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool.  Effective 90 days after enactment.

  • EXTENDS COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS' INSURANCE - Requires new health plans and certain grandfathered plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents' insurance policy, at the parents' choice.  Effective 6 months after enactment.

  • COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS - Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly a doubling of the number of patients seen by the centers over the next 5 years.  Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

  • INCREASING NUMBER OF PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS - Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals.  Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

  • PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY - Prohibits group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees.  Effective 6 months after enactment.

  • HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER INFORMATION - Provides aid to states in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals.  Effective beginning in FY 2010.
  • CREATES NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM - Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide home and community-based services to adults who become functionally disabled.  Effective on January 1, 2011.