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Judy Baker

Judy Baker, the former state representative, 2008 candidate for Congress in the Ninth District and now a Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has a great op-ed posted to today (though it may have been printed a day or two ago) about the benefits of the new health care law that have already taken effect.  An excerpt:

Six months after Congress passed and the president signed the new health reform law, Americans are already seeing the benefits.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, thousands who had been shut out of the health insurance market are now getting coverage through new pre-existing condition insurance plans. More than a million seniors and people with disabilities who have fallen into the so-called Medicare prescription-drug donut hole have received $250 checks to help them buy medications. And many small businesses are getting help too — tax credits to make it easier for them to provide coverage to workers. In Missouri, 94,300 small businesses may be eligible...

This month is reason for celebration as patients are going to be in charge of their care. The next time your coverage renews:

  • Insurers will no longer be able to cancel your policy because you made a minor mistake on an application.

  • Insurance firms will no longer be able to place lifetime dollar limits on your benefits that result in people losing insurance when they need it most — in the middle of a crisis.

  • In many cases, insurers will no longer be able to refuse to sell you a policy to cover your child because she was born with asthma or some other pre-existing medical condition.

  • Insurance companies, in many cases, will no longer be allowed to refuse to pay a doctor or hospital bill without giving you the chance to appeal to a group of outside experts.

These reforms serve as a bridge until 2014, when more important benefits kick in. New health insurance Exchanges will let individuals and small businesses purchase affordable insurance — the same coverage as Members of Congress — regardless of their health status.

The new law is not perfect. But it is already making a huge difference and we’re working with governors, state health officials, community leaders, health care providers and patient advocates to implement it effectively and, when we can, improve it.

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