Archive for January, 2011

Lungren hears from group opposing vote

Posted on January 21st, 2011 by HCAN California in Fight Repeal

On Wednesday, in advance of the House of Representatives’ scheduled vote on the GOP-introduced “repeal bill” (HR2), constituents, activists and supporters of the Affordable Care and Protection Act organized press-conferences in Los Angeles and Sacramento to share their personal stories of how they and their loved ones have benefited already from important early provisions under the Federal health care law.

Check out the story below from the Stockton Record on Wednesday’s event in Sacramento:

By The Record

January 20, 2011 12:00 AM

The national health care debate spilled over Wednesday into the lobby of the Gold River office of Republican Rep. Dan Lungren.

Lungren’s chief of staff, Peter Tateishi, met with what he said were about 20 people who support the health care law and oppose repeal. “I was happy to hear their comments and concerns, and I’ve already relayed them to Congressman Lungren,” Tateishi said.

Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access America, was part of the group. Wright said his group estimates that 3,400 young adults in the 3rd Congressional District receive coverage thanks to the law.

The discussion did not change views on either side. Tateishi said he and Lungren believe the law must be repealed to reduce the burden on businesses and to find a way to solve the health care crisis without mandates. Lungren is the author of a bill that would repeal a section of the law that requires businesses to report for tax purposes virtually any purchase.

Lungren joined Republicans in a 245-189 party-line vote to repeal the legislation.

Reps. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, voted against the repeal.

McNerney spoke on the House floor before the vote. “The law will drive down the cost of health care by encouraging and incentivizing quality care and good outcomes,” McNerney said.

In a written statement, Cardoza said, “Repealing health-care reform would mean sick children could be denied coverage by health insurance companies.”

HuffPo: 5 Health Reform Benefits to Act on Today

Posted on January 13th, 2011 by HCAN California in Health Law Benefits

The Huffington Post featured a great guest post by Dr. Dora Calott Wang, M.D. on Wed. January 12th detailing 5 important ways Americans can take advantage of the new provisions already in effect thanks to the new Federal health care law:

Dora Calott Wang, M.D.: 5 Health Reform Benefits to Act on Today:

1. Pick up the phone and schedule a free annual exam, and routine preventive tests for your age group (such as mammograms and colonoscopies). Under the ACA, preventive care is now free of charge or soon will be, without co-pays or deductibles. If you’re on Medicare, these services were free as of Jan. 1. If you have private health insurance, they’re either free now, or will be free at the start of your new health plan year. Check out more standard preventive services.

2. Insure yourself and all family members. Everyone is now eligible for health insurance. Having a pre-existing condition is no longer an excuse for insurance companies to deny coverage (can you believe how long our health care system has tried to exclude the sick?). If you have children under age 26, you can now insure them under your own plan. Your state should now offer a Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, and if it doesn’t, you can use the federal government’s “PCIP.” Check out healthcare.gov for options.

3. Log onto Healthcare.gov and get informed about the ACA, health insurance options, your health care rights and quality comparisons of your own local hospitals. I found the website refreshingly user-friendly and helpful. For example, its rankings of my own local hospitals seemed accurate and reflective of my opinions as a physician in the know.

4. Appeal the unfair decisions of your insurance company. Under the ACA, it’s now illegal for health insurance companies to deny or cancel coverage, but they can still legally deny care. The ACA gives us new ways to appeal. Again, check out your options.

5. Consider going shopping. By choosing our health insurance carefully, we the people will determine which insurance companies survive, and which go out of business. Because the ACA leaves health insurance and health care in the free market, our choices will collectively shape the future of American health care.

Tell us how the health care law has helped you!

Posted on January 13th, 2011 by HCAN California in Fight Repeal

Yesterday, the House of Representatives had planned to vote on HR 2, the Republicans’ bill calling for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Due to the tragic incident that took place earlier this week in Tucson Arizona, the vote has been postponed.

Republicans were right to postpone a vote on repeal in light of this tragedy, but a vote on repeal of the new federal health care law will take place as early as next Wednesday (January 19)! The new Republican majority may tone down the rhetoric until then but will still pursue their strategy of “repeal and replace” — starting with next week’s vote on the repeal bill.

When it comes to our health care, House Republicans are standing with big insurance companies and other corporations - NOT CONSUMERS WHO ARE BENEFITING FROM THE LAW ALREADY!

In addition to expanding access to quality, affordable care for millions of Californians, the federal health law also goes a long way towards strengthening the economy and protecting consumers from the insurance industry and their Wall Street profits. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), repealing the new law would in fact increase the national deficit by $230 billion!1

With a vote taking place next week, it’s imperative that we send a clear and resounding message to Congress that California will not stand by as opponents try to dismantle our health care! 

That’s why we want to hear from you!

The Republican repeal effort is moving forward - and we need to counter their cries for “repeal and replace” by showing REAL STORIES from REAL CALIFORNIANS who have already benefited from the provisions included in the new law!

We want to hear from:

  • Young adults up to age 26 (or parents of young adults) who are now on their parents insurance plans
  • Parents of children with pre-existing conditions who were not able to buy coverage prior to this year but have - or are planning to buy - coverage now
  • Seniors who pay into the Medicare Part D “donut-hole”
  • Small business owners who provide insurance to their employees
  • Anyone who in the past year has lost coverage when they got sick or needed it the most

If you’ve got a story and want to share it - let us know! Click here to submit your story TODAY!

Your stories will go a long way in demonstrating to lawmakers, the media and the public at large just what “repeal & replace” will really look like! At the end of the day, an effort to repeal the federal health care law hurts us all!

Health reform repeal would hurt economy

Posted on January 7th, 2011 by HCAN California in Implement & Improve

The House is expected to vote on a GOP introduced bill calling for repeal of the Federal health care law. In advance of Wednesday’s anticipated vote - the Congressional Budget Office reported that, despite the best claims of repeal-mongers, repealing the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act would in fact INCREASE the nation’s deficit:

In a letter to Boehner, budget office director Douglas Elmendorf estimated repeal would increase the deficit by $230 billion from 2012 to 2021, the 10-year estimating period for budget projections. Moreover, Elmendorf said about 32 million more people would be uninsured in 2019 as a consequence. (Associated Press)

The White House voiced similar concerns. In a post published Friday (1/7/2011), The Hill reported that the Obama administration cautioned against the economic ramifications if the Republicans and insurance industry lobbyists have their way:

Stephanie Cutter, an assistant to the president for special projects, wrote that “repealing the law would likely slow down the growth of our economy,” on a day when the government posted a tick down in the unemployment rate, to 9.4 percent.

“The House Republican Health Care Plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away all the new freedom and control it gives the American people over their health care and give it back to insurance companies will not only raise costs for individuals and businesses, but it will hurt our economy,” Cutter wrote. (The Hill)

Stand Up Against Repeal!

Posted on January 5th, 2011 by HCAN California in Action

The wealthy insurance industry fought tooth & nail to oppose Federal health care reform legislation in 2009 and 2010…even going as far as threatening to stop selling child-only policies to families with children with “pre-existing conditions” in order to weasel their way out of complying with provisions under the Affordable Care Act.

But thanks to the thousands of calls, e-mails, faxes and letters from dedicated health care supporters like you- California has gone above & beyond the Federal health care law by passing AB2244, which went into effect on January 1st!

The new state law, sponsored by HCAN-CA’s lead state partner, Health Access California, “bars insurers that refuse to sell policies exclusively for children from the broader individual market for five years. It also limits the amount insurers can charge for covering children with serious health conditions to no more than twice what they would charge healthier children.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Now, as a result of this new law, “all insurers have notified the state Department of Insurance of their intention to resume sales.” (Los Angeles Times)

But this is just the beginning! Many other key provisions from the new health law are already going into effect this month, and that’s why it’s so imperative that we keep up the pressure and oppose efforts by Congressional Republicans and insurance industry lobbyists to repeal the Federal health care law!

Today marks the first day of the 112th Congress with its Republican majority bought and paid for by Wall Street-run corporations and their shill groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It comes as no surprise that one of the Republicans’ first items is to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and all the benefits and consumer protections that we’ve fought so hard to achieve.1 And what are they replacing it with? NOTHING.

Click here to automatically sign the petition that says: “Republicans in Congress shouldn’t give our health care back to the insurance companies and sentence more than 30000 Americans a year to death because they can’t afford health insurance.”

Everyone already knows that the Republican Party is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the health insurance industry2 and other profit-hungry corporations. In case there was any doubt, the Republicans have hired insurance and health care industry lobbyists for key positions on committees and members’ staffs.3 So far, two health care industry lobbyists have joined the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care legislation. One of them was named staff director. In addition, a top lobbyist from the medical device industry has joined Boehner’s staff as policy director.4

When you cut through the political hyperbole, the GOP’s search-and-destroy mission is serious business. Thankfully we have a strong Democratic caucus in the House and a majority in the Senate to fight back.  The repeal vote in the House scheduled for next week is part of an all-out assault on the new law in the Congress, the courts and state legislatures.  And it’s an assault with well-funded corporate sponsors.

After a century of legislative and political combat over health care, working families and small businesses and ended the insurance companies’ stranglehold on our health care. Naturally, Boehner wants to roll back the new health care law and let the health insurance companies resume their reign of terror. That’s why Boehner and his band of corporate shills, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor5, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell6 and a raft of presidential wannabes7, have made repealing the health care law the top priority for 2011 for the Republican Party.

Your dedication and support helped pass AB2244, and several other essential laws that have gone a long way towards implementing and improving upon Federal health reform here in California!

Now is the time for us to send this Congress a message.  We will not go back.  We will not let them play partisan political games with our rights as consumers or with the lives of our families.