On Sunday March 21, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 219-210, a historic health care reform bill long in the making. The House passed both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which had previously passed the Senate in December 2009, and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, which includes changes to the Senate-passed bill. The Reconciliation Act was passed by a vote of 220-211.
The health care overhaul package is a complex bill that will impact all Americans. The Epilepsy Foundation is pleased that our principles for health reform, and those of the National Health Council (NHC) of which the Foundation is a member, are all addressed in this legislation.
The new legislation will:
Eliminate lifetime caps on benefits for all insurance plans 6 months after enactment of the bill;
Eliminate annual caps on benefits for individual and group plans in 2014;
Close the Medicare Part D donut hole by 2020 and provide a $250 rebate for all Medicare Part D enrollees who enter the donut hole in 2010.
The bill also prohibits insurers from establishing eligibility rules based on health status, medical condition (mental or physical illness or disability), claims experience, receipt of healthcare, medical history, genetic information, evidence of insurability, or disability.
It is expected that President Obama will sign the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. The Reconciliation Act of 2010 will move to the Senate for approval.
Thank you to all advocates who have helped support meaningful, comprehensive health reform for all people with epilepsy!
For additional information, click on these links:
•The House Energy and Commerce Committee summary of legislation
•The Washington Post's online tool showing what reform will mean to you
•A Washington Post article summarizing the bill