Affordable Care Act One Year Later [AUDIO]
Proponents of the Affordable Health Care Act are took time on Wednesday, one year after the act was signed, to remind the public of benefits already being felt, especially in rural states like Wyoming.
Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius spoke during a press conference today...
"One year ago President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act and since then this health care law has helped to improve the health care status quo for all Americans, but particularly those in rural communities. It's now holding insurers accountable and lowering the cost for families and businesses."
Agricultural Secretary, Tom Vilsack, listed benefits already in place; insurers can no longer deny coverage to children with preexisting conditions nor can they deny insurance based on accidental errors made on applications. Young adults up to age 26 can now remain on their parents coverage and seniors experiencing the prescription donut hole are getting help. Vilsack says small businesses should also notice benefits.
"This is important financial support for small businesses which employ two-thirds of all Americans. Today those businesses pay about 18 percent more than large firms for the same insurance policy. This law offers many employers with fewer then 25 employees-the vast majority in rural America- a tax credit of up to 35 percent of the cost of those premiums."
Vilsack outlined provisions for all states, by 2014, to offer health insurance market places, that, he says, should provide choice and foster competition.
Secretary Sebelius points to elements in the Health Care Act that call for greater payments to doctors and surgeons who choose to practice in rural communities along with greater investment in community health centers.
"They'll be able to add staff, expand, improve facilities, stay open longer hours and provide dental and mental health care; often critical health services."
If the Affordable Care Act were to be repealed, Sebelius says, that will send many Americans back to the emergency room as their only access to care.
"Yet there's another reason why we can't afford to repeal the health care law. If these investments are lost, thousands of health care providers across the country would lose their jobs and millions of Americans in the most underserved rural and urban communities would lose access to their best source of affordable health care."
Sebelius says she believes there is still alot of intentional misinformation being spread. Both Sebelius and Vilsack say with more accurate information most Americans will see the Affordable Health Care Act as a positive. And as tax returns are completed, Secretary Vilsack says, small business owners and farmers will better understand the significance of it's tax credits.
"As people intersect with the benefits, as the secretary indicated, I think the acceptance of this and the awareness of this is going to grow exponentially."