Vice President for Communications and External Affairs
The House is expected to vote today, for the 37th time, to repeal part or all of health reform. Nevertheless, in the nearly two and a half years since the first such vote, health reform has made significant progress in achieving its basic goals: helping more Americans get affordable coverage, protecting consumers, and slowing cost growth across the health care system, both public and private.
Here’s a look at some of health reform’s accomplishments to date:
Preventive care includes screenings for chronic illnesses like diabetes and cancer, routine vaccines for adults and children, and other recommended care for kids, such as regular doctor visits.
Better access to preventive care will help millions of families with their budgets and likely produce other benefits, such as fewer unnecessary deaths from disease, less spending on costly and avoidable illnesses, and a healthier population overall.
Also, health reform’s ban on “lifetime limits” on health benefits means that people who get a serious illness won’t have to worry that their benefits will run out or that expensive treatments will push them into bankruptcy — or worse, that coverage limits will prevent them from getting lifesaving care.
Before health reform, seniors had no additional coverage until their costs hit about $6,600. Now, seniors receive a 52.5 percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 21 percent discount on generic prescription drugs while they are in the coverage gap.
More than 6 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved more than $6.1 billion as a result of these changes, according to HHS.
For example, Medicare is cutting payments to hospitals with high readmission rates in order to encourage them to prevent more avoidable readmissions. Also, many physician-led “accountable care organizations” are up and running. These organizations are structured to encourage health care providers to take responsibility for the cost and quality of care they deliver, potentially reining in costs.