House Passes Health Care Reform

March 21, 2010 – The House of Representatives has approved the health care reform legislation, passing both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed by the Senate in December, and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, which includes changes to the Senate-passed bill.

The heath care overhaul package is a complex bill that will impact all Americans. There are several provisions that are of interest to the thalassemia community, including:

Creating a Cures Acceleration Network at the National Institutes of Health, supporting translational research in the hopes of more quickly moving research from the lab into new drugs and therapies available to patients;

Eliminating lifetime caps on benefits for all insurance plans 6 months after enactment of the bill;

Eliminating annual caps on benefits for individual and group plans in 2014;

Closing the Medicare Part D donut hole by 2020, and providing a $250 rebate for all Medicare Part D enrollees who enter the donut hole in 2010; and

Prohibiting insurers from establishing eligibility rules based on health status, medical condition (mental or physical illness), claims experience, receipt of healthcare, medical history, genetic information, evidence of insurability, disability, etc.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will now go to the White House for signature by the President while the Reconciliation Act of 2010 still needs to go to the Senate for approval. CAF will keep you updated as Congress finishes its work on health reform.

For an analysis of the impact of Health Reform district-by-district, visit the House Energy & Commerce Web site.

(Special thanks to the Parkinson’s Action Network for providing information for this article.)

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