Rep. Deutch issued this statement on the Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“In the coming days, political strategists and pundits will debate how today’s Supreme Court ruling will impact the November elections, when what really matters is the improved financial security that all Americans will enjoy thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Just the beginning phases of this historic law’s implementation have yielded tremendous benefits to Floridians and Americans nationwide.
“In Florida alone, over 255,000 seniors have saved more than $247 million on their prescription drugs and over 224,000 young adults who would have otherwise been uninsured are now covered. Nationwide, 12 million Americans are receiving $1.1 billion in rebates from their private insurance companies because this law is finally putting an end to unjustifiable premium hikes. Soon, health insurance companies will be barred from discriminating against all Americans with pre-existing conditions, dropping patients when they get sick, and interfering with the decisions made between families and their doctors.
“With the law upheld, it is time we get to work implementing all of its provisions and finally expand coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans and reduce health care costs for all of our businesses, workers, families and seniors. In Florida especially, it is time for Governor Rick Scott to stop pretending the Affordable Care Act does not exist, and finally begin helping Floridians access the many critical benefits provided by this law.”
New data released by the Department of Health and Human Services reveals the many ways reform is already making a difference for the people of Florida:
Providing new coverage options for young adults
Health plans are now required to allow parents to keep their children under age 26 without job-based coverage on their family coverage, and, thanks to this provision, 3.1 million young people have gained coverage nationwide. As of December 2011, 224,000 young adults in Florida gained insurance coverage as a result of the health care law. For more details on these numbers, visit here.
Making prescription drugs affordable for seniors
Thanks to the new health care law, 256,600 people with Medicare in Florida received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2010. Since the law was enacted, Florida residents with Medicare have saved a total of $247,476,519 on their prescription drugs. In the first five months of 2012, 47,990 people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on their covered brand-name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. This discount has resulted in an average savings of $665 per person, and a total savings of $31,928,736 in Florida. By 2020, the law will close the donut hole.
Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay
In 2011, 2,581,961 people with Medicare in Florida received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. And in the first five months of 2012, 1,123,640 people with Medicare received free preventive services. Because of the law, 54 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 2,841,000 in Florida.
Providing better value for your premium dollar through the 80/20 Rule
Under the new health care law, insurance companies must provide consumers greater value by spending generally at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care and quality improvements instead of overhead, executive salaries or marketing. If they don’t, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums. This means that 1,251,397 Florida residents with private insurance coverage will benefit from $123,624,635 in rebates from insurance companies this summer. These rebates will average $168 for the 736,000 families in Florida covered by a policy.
Removing lifetime limits on health benefits
The law bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits – freeing cancer patients and individuals suffering from other chronic diseases from having to worry about going without treatment because of their lifetime limits. Already, 5,587,000 residents, including 2,170,000 women and 1,411,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.
Creating new coverage options for individuals with pre-existing conditions
As of April 2012, 5,918 previously uninsured residents of Florida who were locked out of the coverage system because of a pre-existing condition are now insured through a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan that was created under the new health reform law. To learn more about the plan available in Florida, check here.
Supporting Florida’s work on Affordable Insurance Exchanges
Florida has received $1 million in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges.
- $1 million in Planning Grants: This grant provides Florida the resources needed to conduct the research and planning necessary to build a better health insurance marketplace and determine how its exchange will be operated and governed. Learn how the funds are being used in Florida here.
Preventing illness and promoting health
Since 2010, Florida has received $34.8 million in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act. This new fund was created to support effective policies in Florida, its communities, and nationwide so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives.
Increasing support for community health centers
The Affordable Care Act increases the funding available to community health centers in all 50 states, including the 391 existing community health centers in Florida. Health centers in Florida have received $111.7 million to create new health center sites in medically underserved areas, enable health centers to increase the number of patients served, expand preventive and primary health care services, and/or support major construction and renovation projects.
Strengthening partnerships with Florida
The law gives states support for their work to build the health care workforce, crack down on fraud, and support public health. Examples of Affordable Care Act grants to Florida not outlined above include:
- $3.3 million for health professions workforce demonstration projects, which will help low income individuals receive training and enter health care professions that face shortages.
- $600,000 for the expansion of the Physician Assistant Training Program (PDF – 66 KB), a five-year initiative to increase the number of physician assistants in the primary care workforce.
- $3 million to help Florida reduce health care fraud by identifying efficient and effective procedures for long-term care facilities to conduct background checks on prospective employees, thereby protecting its residents.
- $3.1 million for school-based health centers, to help clinics expand and provide more health care services such as screenings to students.
- $1.4 million to support outreach to eligible Medicare beneficiaries about their benefits.
- $164,000 for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, organizations run by and for families with children with special health care needs.
- $8.3 million for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs. These programs bring health professionals to meet with at-risk families in their homes and connect families to the kinds of help that can make a real difference in a child’s health, development, and ability to learn - such as health care, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition.