Health care reform already helps millions: Barack Obama
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Last Updated: Saturday, May 08, 2010, 16:38
Washington: US President Barack Obama on Saturday said that tens of thousands of Americans are already reaping benefits from the new health care reform though it will take few years before it is fully implemented.

In his weekly radio address, Obama highlighted the ways in which health reform is already holding insurance companies more accountable and giving consumers more control.

Implementing everything in the new law will not happen overnight, but consumers are already getting a break from unfair rate hikes and insurance companies will no longer drop coverage for people when they get sick.

Obama said four million small businesses have been notified that they could be eligible for a health care tax cut this year.

Retirees will soon receive help if they fall into the prescription drug "donut hole".

And, young adults will be able to stay on their parents' plan until they are 26 years old, he said.

"It has now been a little over a month since I signed health insurance reform into law. And while it will take some time to fully implement this law, reform is already delivering real benefits to millions of Americans. Already, we are seeing a health care system that holds insurance companies more accountable and gives consumers more control," Obama said.

He said two weeks ago, four million small business owners and organisations found a postcard in their mailbox informing them that they could be eligible for a health care tax cut this year - a tax cut potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars; a tax cut that will help millions provide coverage to their employees.

"Starting in June, businesses will get even more relief for providing coverage to retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare. And a little over a month from now, on June 15th, senior citizens who fall into the prescription drug coverage gap known as the 'donut hole' will start receiving a USD 250 rebate to help them afford their medication," he said.

In the next month, the US Government will also be putting in place a new patients' bill of rights.

"It will provide simple and clear information to consumers about their choices and their rights. It will set up an appeals process to enforce those rights. And it will prohibit insurance companies from limiting a patients' access to their preferred primary care provider, ob-gyn, or emergency room care," he said.

"We're holding insurance companies accountable in other ways, as well. As of September, the new health care law prohibits insurance companies from dropping people's coverage when they get sick and need it most," Obama said, adding that on Monday his administration will also be announcing the new rule that allows young adults without insurance to stay on their parents' plan until they're 26 years old.

"I've said before that implementing health insurance reform won't happen overnight, and it will require some tweaks and changes along the way. Ultimately, we'll have a system that provides more control for consumers, more accountability for insurance companies, and more affordable choices for uninsured Americans. But already, we are seeing how reform is improving the lives of millions of Americans," he said.


First Published: Saturday, May 08, 2010, 16:38

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