This Year . . .

After calling on Congress for a straight up-or-down vote on health care legislation, President Obama took time to outline the immediate benefits consumers can expect from pending health care reform in this week’s video address. You might notice that this is the second time the President has used his Weekly Address to list the benefits that will take place this year under health reform legislation. The President first outlined immediate protections on January 9, 2010 after the Senate passed its version of the reform bill. You can view that post here.

The president also discussed the danger of failing to enact reform and reiterated his stance that those who like their current insurance plans can keep them.

Here is a list of immediate benefits that President Obama says will kick in once health reform is passed this year:

  • Tax credits for small business owners to purchase health care insurance.
  • Thousands of uninsured Americans with preexisting conditions will be able to buy insurance coverage.
  • Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to children with preexisting health conditions.
  • This legislation will prevent insurance companies from dropping individuals when they get sick.
  • All new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventative care to their customers.
  • No more life-time or restrictive annual limits on the type of care an individual may receive.
  • Young adults will be able to stay on their parent’s insurance policy up until the age of 26.
  • This legislation will create an independent appeals process for anyone who feels that they were unfairly denied a claim by their insurance company.
  • Senior citizens who fall into the “doughnut hole” will receive $250 to help them pay for their prescriptions.

But what if Congress fails to act? The president addressed that too:

“If we let this opportunity pass for another year or another decade or another generation, more Americans will lose their families’ health insurance if they switch jobs or lose their jobs. More small businesses will be forced to choose between health care and hiring. More insurance companies will raise premiums and deny coverage. And the rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid will sink our government deeper and deeper into debt. I don’t accept that future for the United States of America.”

Earlier this week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, took questions about reform. Here’s the video:

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