First-Anniversary Hearing in Harrisburg, Sebelius Appearance in D.C. Highlight Benefits of Affordable Care ActPosted on March 23rd, 2011 by Melinda Gibson in Press Releases
Advocates Holding Events in 33 States to Celebrate ACA’s
New Consumer Protections From Worst Insurance Industry Practices
Washington DC – As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marks its first anniversary on Wednesday, March 23, health care advocacy groups including Health Care for America Now (HCAN), Families USA, Doctors for America, PICO National Network and Community Catalyst will host scores of educational events in 33 states to raise awareness of the law’s new consumer protections and benefits that are holding insurance companies accountable and lowering costs for millions of families. In events across the country, local health care advocates are encouraging their Members of Congress to move forward with the law (see Violet’s story below).
This week HCAN is hosting 80 educational events, including today’s public hearing at 10:30 a.m. in the Pennsylvania State Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. The event will be just down the hall from a field hearing of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee – a proceeding that advocates are calling a partisan “show trial” designed to undercut public support for the health law. While average people have not been invited to testify at their event, their voices will be heard at the counter hearing, which is co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Health Access Network and SEIU. A dozen Pennsylvanians are scheduled to talk about how they have already benefited from the law.
Across the nation this week, thousands of activists will deliver a strong message that we cannot afford to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, impose arbitrary lifetime or annual limits on coverage, hike premiums excessively without consequences, and drop coverage when people get hurt or sick and need it most.
The schedule of activity taking place on Wednesday, March 23rd, includes:
· Secretary Sebelius Speaks to Community Health Centers. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will address the National Association of Community Health Centers at 3 p.m. ET in Washington D.C. The conference brings together thousands of health center leaders, opinion-makers, policy experts, clinicians and consumers. The speech will be streamed live to ACA anniversary parties at community health centers across the country.
· U.S.Surgeon General Talks With Doctors. Dr. Regina Benjamin and Doctors For America host a tele-town hall with over 500 providers from across the country to discuss the benefits of the ACA to patients and providers. RSVP here.
· HHS Assistant Secretary Koh Attends Event With Faith Leaders. HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh and faith leaders are attending an event in National City, Calif., sponsored by PICO to highlight efforts by local faith groups to use the Affordable Care Act to raise health-care quality and lower costs in their communities.
· Rep. Anthony Weiner and Center for American Progress – ACA Turns 1. Rep. Weiner and CAP Chief Operating Officer Neera Tanden discuss moving forward as the Affordable Care Act reaches its first birthday. RSVP here.
ClickHERE for details on the 80 events sponsored by HCAN, many featuring members of Congress, state legislative leaders and people who have already been helped by the new law, including:
· Forum with Sen. Rockefeller and HHS. Sen. Rockefeller and HHS Administrator for Health Resources and Services Mary Wakefield are hosting a forum at the Kanawha/Charlestown Health Department in Charleston, West Virginia, on the benefits of the ACA.
· Chicago Event with Gov. Quinn and Rep. Schakowsky. Citizen Action Illinois and HCAN host a rally at the ChicagoTemple with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.
· We Can’t Go Back Events. Demonstrations at district offices of members of Congress who voted to repeal the law so average people can remind them what they are trying to take away from millions of seniors, families, small businesses and children.
These events are among more than 200 actions taking place across the country this week with children, seniors, small-business owners and young people coming together to explain how they are benefiting from the ACA right now. Each event will demonstrate that now is the time to move forward and protect our care from those who would take away new protections against pre-existing condition exclusions, prescription drug cost reductions, and expanded coverage for children, young adults and women.
Spotlight on Violet: Violet lives with her momJulie and dad Matt in California. In her two short years of life, Violet has experienced thousands of seizures because of a life-threatening form of epilepsy that often leaves her in the pediatric intensive care unit. These episodes can cost more than $250,000, which Julie’s insurance covers, for the most part. The Affordable Care Act guarantees that Violet will continue to receive the care she needs because it eliminated lifetime caps on benefits. Violet would have hit her limit at age four. See Violet’s story here: http://www.protectyourcare.org/stories/violet/
The ACA Is Holding Insurance Companies Accountable and Lowering Costs for Millions of Families. While some in Congress continue talking about repealing or defunding the ACA, they won’t talk about all of the very popular benefits that would be taken away, including:
· Ending the worst insurance company abuses. Already, the law bans insurance companies from dropping coverage when you get sick and excluding children with pre-ex conditions from coverage. 129 million people suffer from pre-existing conditions. And in 2014, they can never be labeled a pre-ex again.
· Lowering premiums for you and your family. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that it would cut premiums for millions of Americans, particularly those in the individual market. Those in the individual market who get help to pay for their premiums are expected to see their premiums drop an average of 59 percent compared to what they would pay had we not passed the law.
· Ending lifetime limits on your coverage. Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer put lifetime limits on the amount of health coverage you can receive. It also restricts annual limits and eliminates any cap by 2014.