The U.S. House of Representatives passed historic health care reform legislation late last night! This landmark bill increases choice and competition while reining in costs.
When Rep. Welch cast his vote in favor of the health care bill, he not only helped to get it passed, he stood up to the insurance industry that’s been spending $1.4 million a day lobbying against health reform.
Key provisions of the Affordable Health Care for America Act include the following:
A ban on the most egregious insurance industry practices: pre-existing condition denials, lifetime or yearly caps on benefits, price discrimination based on health history, and rescission of coverage based on small enrollment form errors once you get sick.
A strong, national Health Insurance Exchange which allows small businesses and individuals without affordable employer-based coverage to pool their bargaining power and negotiate better deals with insurers.
A public health insurance plan option, competing on a level playing field with private coverage plans in the exchange. This public option would generate much needed choice and competition, leading to lower costs for consumers, small businesses, and the nation.
An Institute of Medicine study on care quality and value that will propose provider payment approaches that encourage better care at lower cost. These recommendations will be automatically go into effect in 2013 unless a law is passed to stop their implementation.
Research into which treatments work best, so that consumers and their providers can be armed with the latest science when making decisions about care.
New incentives for primary and preventive care, keeping Americans healthy and away from expensive unneeded emergency room visits.
Health information IT and simplified administration to reduce administrative costs.
The elimination of costly drug and insurance industry subsidies, by allowing the government to purchase low-income seniors’ prescription drugs at lower Medicaid prices and cutting subsidies to private insurers, currently paid by Medicare.
It’s been a contentious few months for Members of Congress who have been working hard to advance real reform in the face of lies and misinformation being spread by the health insurance industry. But Rep. Welch understands that if the insurance companies win, we lose. He sided with his constituents on this vote and he deserves our thanks.
Now it’s on to the Senate!