Rep. Maloney, Healthcare Providers, Patients & Advocates Tout Benefits to New Yorkers of Healthcare Reform Law Upheld by Supreme Court
New York, NY U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D Manhattan, Queens) today joined with health care providers, patients, and advocates to tout the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark legislation passed by Congress in 2010 whose constitutionality was upheld this week in an historic U.S. Supreme Court decision, and which was strongly supported by Maloney. At today’s press conference, Congresswoman Maloney, health care providers affiliated with local medical centers, patients who are or will benefit from the ACA, and advocates describe how the law has already helped tens of thousands of seniors and young adults in New York and specifically in the 14th Congressional District of New York that she represents, as well as ways in which New Yorkers will benefit from provisions of the ACA that have yet to take effect.
Joining Congresswoman Maloney at today’s event were: Jeff Gold, Board Chair of the Metro New York Healthcare for All campaign; Tim Foley of the Committee of Interns & Residents;
William Jordan, MD, Bronx family practitioner, National Physicians Alliance Treasurer, Public Health Association of New York City Policy Committee Chair; Anne Bove, Nurse at Bellevue Hospital, New York State Nurses Association HHC Executive Council President; Dr. Roni Mendonca, MD, an anesthesiologist practicing at Metropolitan Hospital and a member of the Doctors Council; Dr. Ifeoma Ikwueke, MD, physician at Metropolitan Hospital; Margot Feuerstein, a 23-year-old Manhattan resident who is covered by her parents’ health insurance plan thanks to the ACA; Carol Ann Rinzler, author of more than 20 books on health, including the best-selling Nutrition for Dummies, and a senior citizen living in Turtle Bay; Will Weder, a Member of Manhattan Community Board 6 and former Chair of the Bellevue Hospital Center Community Advisory Board; and Wells LaRiviere, a former Maloney intern and a 23-year-old kidney transplant patient who is covered by his parents health insurance, a key provision of the ACA that has already taken effect. Kenneth Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, submitted a written statement, which is included below.
At today’s event, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said, “The Affordable Care Act is bringing about improved coverage and lower costs and will benefit thousands of New Yorkers. It’s important to remember that, because of the ACA, insurance companies can no longer remove young adults under the age of 26 from their parents' health care policies, refuse to provide coverage to kids under age 19 with preexisting conditions, or place lifetime limits on coverage – all of which has been pushing families into bankruptcy when facing a catastrophic illness or condition. Already, the ACA is offering significant tax credits to thousands of small businesses in our congressional district access to help insure their workers. The Patient's Bill of Rights, which was included in the Affordable Care Act, is helping improve coverage and lower costs for individuals and their families. These new protections and benefits are crucial to improving the lives of millions of Americans.”
Jeff Gold, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Metro NewYork Health Care for All campaign, an Upper East Sider, and a General Partner of the JI Associates tech firm, joined Congresswoman Maloney at today’s event. “The Affordable Care Act is good for small businesses like mine, and will be even better as states enact health care exchanges so that business principals like me can buy affordable health coverage for ourselves, our families and our employees, as states like New York, Massachusetts and Vermont have done already. With the U.S. paying more for medical coverage than any of our industrial/commercial competitors, we must ensure that small businesses and their employees have access to high quality, affordable medical coverage; the A.C.A. will allow millions to get affordable coverage instead of going to the most inefficient hospital emergency rooms for basic coverage, and remove the burden of shoving small businesses like mine into stratified risk pools that make coverage harder to buy, afford or even evaluate. I thank Congress Member Carolyn Maloney for her leadership in helping to pass President Obama's Affordable Care Act,” he said.
Margot Feuerstein, a 23-year-old Manhattan resident who is already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act by virtue of remaining eligible for coverage on her parents’ health insurance resident, spoke at today’s press conference. “When I was job hunting, I didn't need to limit my search to positions that provided health insurance. The Affordable Care Act gave me the freedom to pursue my career to the fullest extent, since it ensured that I didn't need to live my life in fear that I'd otherwise be uninsured,” she said.
Carol Ann Rinzler, a Turtle Bay senior and the author of more than 20 books on health, including the best-selling Nutrition for Dummies, said, “I welcome the new access to preventive care that will be provided by the Affordable Care Act, which is designed to reduce medical costs by diagnosing illness at its earliest, most treatable stage.”
Will Weder, Chair of the Health Committee of Manhattan Community Board 6 and former Chair of the Bellevue Hospital Center Community Advisory Board, said, “The benefits of the Affordable Care Act to New Yorkers have already been demonstrated, and I am gratified that the Supreme Court has made the right decision.”
Also participating in the news conference by telephone was a former Maloney intern, Wells LaRiviere, a 23-year-old kidney transplant patient who was able to receive coverage on his parents’ health care plan after graduating from Reed College, and who no longer worries about being denied health care coverage in the future because of his pre-existing condition. “This week’s Supreme Court decision lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I no longer fear being denied access to affordable health insurance because of my status as a transplant patient, and because I am able to be covered after my parents plan after graduating from college, I am able to pursue my dream of a career in medicine without facing the tidal wave of debt I would have incurred had I been uninsured before entering the work force full-time.”
Kenneth Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, submitted a written statement for the press conference: “We welcome the Supreme Court’s historic decision and the impact it will have on patients in New York City and across the country. The Affordable Care Act leads the way to much needed reform of the health care system – opening doors to meaningful health care coverage for 34 million Americans, including many of the patients we serve at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. The decision is a positive step forward in reforming the health care system, and while we know there are issues that remain to be worked out, having this clarity will ensure that patients can get the care they need. At The Mount Sinai Medical Center we provide care for one of the most diverse populations in the world. We have pioneered programs that help low-income patients who suffer high rates of chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease. We welcome the provisions of the law that advance our commitment to delivering new patient-centered models of care that will result in better patient outcomes, better use of resources and greater cost effectiveness.”
According to a 2012 study prepared by the House Energy & Commerce Committee minority staff, because of the Affordable Care Act:
• 6,100 young adults in New York’s 14th Congressional District now have health insurance.
• 10,200 seniors in the district received prescription drug discounts worth $7.7 million, an average discount of $760 per senior.
• 66,000 seniors in the district received Medicare preventive services without paying any co pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
• 18,000 children and 130,000 adults now have health insurance that covers preventive services without paying any co pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
• 1060 small businesses in the district received tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees.
• $10.6 million in public health grants have been given to community health centers, hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers in the district to improve the community's health.
• 5,000 to 21,000 children with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage by health insurers.
In addition, the consumer protection provisions of the Affordable Care Act have ended some of the worst abuses of health insurers. These provisions have helped protect 190,000 residents of the district from excessive rate increases by limiting the amount of money that health insurers can spend on administrative expenses and profits and requiring health insurers to post and justify rate increases of 10% or more; they have eliminated the threat of health coverage rescissions for more than 490,000 residents; and they have banned insurance companies from establishing lifetime coverage limits for 260,000 residents.
Starting in September, health insurers and employers will be required to provide 490,000 district residents with an easy to understand summary of benefits and coverage under their health care plan, providing them with clear and consistent information so they can easily compare health care options. And when the health care reform law goes fully into effect, everyone in the district will be protected from discrimination by insurers based on a preexisting health condition.
Health Care Benefits in Rep. Maloney's District
Health insurance coverage for young adults to age 26. Starting in September 2010, the Affordable Care Act required health insurers to permit parents to retain coverage for their children until they reach the age of 26. The result has been a significant increase in health insurance coverage for young adults, who have traditionally been the age group that is most likely to be uninsured. A new analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services found that the Affordable Care Act has allowed 2.5 million young adults nationwide to gain insurance coverage, reducing the percentage of young adults without coverage by nearly 25%. This report estimates that in Rep. Maloney's district, 6,100 young adults have gained health care coverage because of the new Affordable Care Act provisions.
Prescription drug discounts for seniors. Beginning on January 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act provided a 50% discount for prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries who enter the Medicare Part D "donut hole" and lose coverage for their drug expenses. The law increases the discount for brand and generic drugs for Medicare beneficiaries each year until 2020, when the donut hole is finally eliminated. Nationwide, more than 3.6 million seniors have already saved more than $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs since this provision went into effect, an average savings of $604 per person. This report calculates that in Rep. Maloney's district, 10,200 seniors have saved $7.7 million in drug costs, an average savings of $760 per person.
Preventive care and services for seniors with no cost sharing. Beginning on January 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act provided all Medicare beneficiaries with access to preventive care and services without any co pay, coinsurance, or deductible. This change to Medicare has allowed more than 32.5 million seniors nationwide to take advantage of free preventive services. Available services include annual wellness visits, cholesterol and other cardiovascular screenings, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and colorectal and prostate cancer screenings, all of which are provided with no out of pocket cost to seniors. This report estimates that in Rep. Maloney's district, 66,000 seniors have benefited from these free preventive services.
Preventive care and services for children and adults with no cost sharing. Beginning on September 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act required new private insurance plans to cover preventive care services without any co pay, coinsurance, or deductible. These insurance policies must cover services such as regular pediatrician visits for children; cholesterol and blood pressure screening for adults; flu shots and other immunizations; cancer screening like mammograms, pap smears, and colonoscopies; and many more. Nationwide, this change has allowed 54 million Americans to receive preventive services without cost sharing. This report estimates that in Rep. Maloney's district, 130,000 residents have benefited from this change, including 18,000 children, 60,000 women, and 29,000 residents who are African American, Latino, or a part of other minority groups for whom preventative care can reduce health disparities.
Tax credits for small businesses. Starting on January 1, 2010, the Affordable Care Act provided new tax credits to small businesses worth 35% or more of the cost of providing health insurance to their employees.(1) Nationwide, the IRS reported that 228,000 businesses used these tax credits in 2010. This report estimates that in Rep. Maloney's district, there were an estimated 1060 small businesses that used the tax credits in 2010.
Grants for health care providers. The Affordable Care Act has funded $3.1 billion in grants since 2010 to support public health and healthcare providers. These grants support community health centers; the development of innovative, cost saving health care delivery systems; training for doctors, nurses, and other health professionals; and other important public health priorities. Healthcare providers in the district have received $10.6 million in Affordable Care Act grants since 2010.
Consumer Protection Benefits in Rep. Maloney's District
Stopping abuses by health insurers. The Affordable Care Act ended the most egregious insurance company abuses. Under the Act, health insurers are barred from denying children insurance on the basis of pre existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer; they can no longer rescind coverage for individuals who become ill; and they are prohibited from imposing annual and lifetime limits on coverage. This report estimates that in Rep. Maloney's district, there are 5,000 to 21,000 children with preexisting health conditions who are now protected against insurer denials; there are 490,000 residents with private health insurance coverage who are protected from rescission of their health coverage if they become ill; and there are 260,000 people in health care plans that previously imposed lifetime limits but are now prohibited from doing so.
Lowering health insurance costs. The Affordable Care Act protects individuals from soaring health insurance costs by requiring insurers to post and justify proposed rate increases of 10% or more. It also limits the amount that insurance companies can spend on administrative expenses and profits. This report estimates that in Rep. Maloney's district, 190,000 residents who have individual coverage or employer coverage are benefitting from these provisions.(2)
Future Benefits in Rep. Maloney's District
Starting in September of this year, all new individual and group health insurance policies will be required to provide consumers with an easy to understand summary of their health benefits and coverage, including a standardized "coverage examples" section that uses a format modeled on the nutrition facts label for food. The summaries will give the 490,000 district residents with private insurance clear, consistent, and comparable information about their health plans and the coverage they can expect to receive from these plans.
By 2014, virtually all of the important benefits of the Affordable Care Act will come into effect. Health insurers will be prohibited from discriminating against all adults and children with pre existing conditions, which will protect the 120,000 to 310,000 individuals in the district with a pre existing health condition. The 490,000 residents with private insurance coverage will no longer face annual limits on coverage. Residents of the district who buy their health insurance on the private market will be able to shop for health insurance in transparent and competitive marketplaces called exchanges, where insurers will be required to publish the prices and benefits of their policies in simple, plain language.
Along with all these benefits, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the federal deficit by more than $100 billion over the next decade and by more than $1 trillion in the decade after that.
This analysis is based upon the following sources: the U.S. Census (data on the number of small businesses, population of young adults, and insurance coverage); the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (data on Medicare enrollment, Medicare preventive care utilization, and the number of seniors who entered the Part D donut hole); the Department of Health and Human Services (Affordable Care Act grants, estimates of coverage for young adults and the number of individuals in plans that receive new protections under the Affordable Care Act, and estimates of the number of individuals with preexisting conditions); the Internal Revenue Service (data on use of tax credits by small businesses in 2010), and the Kaiser Family Foundation's Employer Health Benefits Survey (data on employer based insurance coverage).
1. The Affordable Care Act provides a 35% tax credit for coverage provided between 2010 and 2013 and a 50% tax credit for coverage provided from 2014 to 2020. The tax credit can be used in two of the years between 2010 and 2020.
2. The provision on administrative costs does not apply to self insured employer plans, and this estimate does not include individuals in these types of plans.