Health care reform already helps millions: Barack Obama

Last Updated: Saturday, May 8, 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.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 16:38

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