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 (https://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, DC — Today, as part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Hearing on “Combating the Opioid Crisis,” Ryan Hampton, a Pasadena resident in recovery for addiction, testified about his experiences in a sober living home, how lack of training and resources led to the death of his friend in a sober home, and the legislation he worked on with Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) to address the problem. Sober living homes can be an important option as people suffering from addiction transition back into society.
Washington, D.C.— The House of Representatives today passed a limited disaster relief bill and a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through January 19, 2018. Prior to their consideration, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) called for comprehensive action to not only keep the government open, but to also fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), answer the President’s call for a solution for undocumented immigrants, and adequately meet the needs of all areas hit by natural disasters this year, including California, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Rep.
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), joined by nine other bipartisan Members of Congress, introduced the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act. This bill would authorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop best practices for recovery residences that promote sustained recovery from substance use disorders.
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Washington, DC -- Four House leaders on women’s rights today introduced a bill to block recent Trump administration moves to limit women's access to birth control. Co-chairs of the Congressional Pro Choice Caucus Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), along with Judy Chu (D-CA) and chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group Lois Frankel (D-FL), authored the Protect Access to Birth Control Act to safeguard this right for every woman in America.
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement on President Trump’s executive order to end the cost sharing reduction subsidies (CSRs) that help working families afford insurance on the ACA marketplaces:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement on President Trump’s executive order to roll back protections for individuals enrolled in association health plans, sabotaging the principles of the ACA’s healthcare marketplaces:
WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, a “skinny” repeal bill, the latest version of legislation meant to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, failed by a vote of 51-49. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a tie breaking vote in the Senate to begin debate on a yet to be seen healthcare bill, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement: