Rep. Chu with health care staff at AltaMed Health Services in El Monte, California.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made available reasonably priced health insurance options for millions of Americans who were locked out of access to affordable health insurance. For Americans who once bought their own insurance in the individual market or had no insurance coverage, they are now able to buy coverage through a state Exchange or marketplace. The plans offered in the Exchange are sold by private insurers whose plans must meet a guaranteed level of benefits. Eligible buyers can purchase health insurance online, by phone or by mail.
Our state’s exchange is called “Covered California.” The next open enrollment for health insurance plans offered through Covered California will be from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.. Purchasers may be eligible for subsidies to help cover the costs of the premiums. To learn more, visit www.coveredca.com or call 1-888-975-1142. Paper applications are also available in Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and other languages here (http://www.coveredca.com/apply/).
The ACA provided many other benefits to all Americans. Congress reformed our health care system to slow the growth of health care costs and ensured that Americans have access to quality, affordable health care. Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing health conditions – including 17 million children – can no longer be denied health insurance or charged higher premiums.
We have seen a historic increase in health insurance coverage. Since the enactment of ACA, about 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health coverage. And, for the first time in more than 50 years of surveys, the Centers on Disease Control found in 2015 that 90.8% of Americans have health insurance. No major survey has ever found the insured rate this high. Clearly, the ACA is working and helping more and more Americans find coverage that suits their needs.
Eligible small businesses can receive tax credits if they choose to offer coverage to their employees – to cover up to 50% of the cost. More than 360,000 small employers have used the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help them afford health insurance for 2 million workers. Seniors are receiving up to a 50% discount on brand-name drugs if they enter the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ coverage gap – a discount that grows until the ‘donut hole’ is closed in 2020. That is just the beginning. As more of the new benefits start to take shape, American families will continue to see more improvements.
Putting Prevention First
Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, are responsible for 7 of 10 American deaths each year, and account for 75 percent of the nation’s health spending. Our health care spending needs to be smarter, which is why I have voted to focus on prevention. Just $10 per person per year on proven community-based programs can save the country more than $16 billion annually. I am making sure that our nation moves from a nation focused on sickness to a nation focused on wellness.
Expanding Health Care Coverage for Children
It is unconscionable for health insurers to discriminate against our most vulnerable children. Unfortunately, it was a practice for health insurers to deny coverage to children if they had a pre-existing condition like asthma or diabetes. This unfair system could affect 1.1 million children in California. I fought hard to ensure that 100% of children would be covered regardless of their condition under the new health care reform law. I’m proud to say that insurers can no longer deny our children health care coverage. Now every child is eligible for coverage.
Fighting Insurance Company Rate Hikes
Health insurance companies have taken advantage of families by increasing health insurance premiums every year regardless of the cost of their expenses. These excessive rate hikes have lined their pockets without families experiencing any improvement in quality of care. I am protecting our families from any more abuse by insurance companies. From now on, insurance companies will have to justify to the public why they are raising their rates. We will no longer be at the mercy of insurance companies and we can hold them accountable for putting profits ahead of people.
We all have known friends or loved ones that may have breast cancer, hepatitis, diabetes or other serious health ailments. Federal research dollars are critical for preventing, treating and curing these diseases and disabilities, but those vital investments in science and our nation’s health are under attack and facing drastic cuts.
I voted for H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. This bill will improve medical innovation by speeding up the development and approval for critical medical treatments and cures. The bill also increases research funding through increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We need to do all we can to get important treatments to patients who need them, and do so as quickly as possible. I will continue supporting efforts to make sure that scientifically-validated medicines make it to patients when they need them.
Until this year, a flawed payment system, the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), threatened to cut payments to Medicare providers, putting beneficiaries at risk of losing health providers. I voted for H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. This bill, which President Obama signed into law in April 2015, eliminated the SGR and phased in a new payment system to reward doctors who provide high-value care, not just high-volume care. We must make sure that health care providers are paid fairly so they can continue delivering the care we need.
More on Health Care
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Diana DeGette (CO-01), and Frank Pallone (NJ-06) today led nearly 160 of their colleagues in demanding that Speaker Ryan stop Republicans’ unprecedented assault on women’s health care. Despite their promise to focus on jobs and the economy, Republican leaders have made attacking women’s health care their top priority during the 115th Congress.
Washington, DC – Today, both President Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence addressed their respective parties in Congress to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) spoke on the floor of the House about a resident of the San Gabriel Valley with a preexisting condition who was able to find treatment thanks to the ACA. Rep. Chu’s remarks are below:
“I rise today on behalf of Kalwis Lo, a young man from my district in San Gabriel, California who told me about his life was saved by the Affordable Care Act.
Pasadena, CA – On Thursday, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) hosted a press conference at the Pasadena Police Department to encourage residents to participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Rep. Chu was joined by Phillip Sanchez, the Chief of Police for the City of Pasadena, Carmichael Octave, Lieutenant of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Altadena, and Ryan Hampton, a constituent and prescription drug addiction survivor. Rep. Chu and Chief Sanchez released the following statements:
Accomplishments During the 114th Congress (2014-2016)
Bringing more federal resources to the San Gabriel Valley is one of my top priorities. This is why I partner with federal agencies to ensure that we have access to federal programs and funding that could benefit our region. I am proud to have worked with these agencies and the President’s Administration on the following initiatives.
Washington, DC – On Thursday, House Republicans ended the Congressional work period early, starting a seven week summer recess without passing legislation to address gun violence, the Zika virus, or the Flint water crisis. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:
Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. The final bill reflects report language from the Conference Committee consisting of Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate which met earlier this week to finalize legislation addressing the opioid epidemic. The Conference Committee was selected to reconcile the 18 opioid bills passed by the House of Representatives in May with the single opioid measure passed by the Senate in March. Rep.