Illinois Democrats Celebrate Health Care Anniversary

Friday marks the 2-year anniversary of the health care law's passage

Friday, Mar 23, 2012  |  Updated 4:08 PM CDT
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Illinois Democrats Celebrate Health Care Anniversary

Fred Mamoun

A daylong event celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act helps families enroll for coverage.

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Sen. Dick Durbin and Reps. Danny K. Davis and Jan Schakowsky held a press conference Friday to celebrate the 2-year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act often referred to as "Obamacare."

"We won a historic victory two years ago and we will not go back," Schakowsky emphatically told the crowd.

The political heavyweights trotted out stories from individuals who have benefitted from the law sprinkled with a few statistics.

"86 million Americans have received one or more free preventive service such as a checkup or a cancer screening due to the Affordable Care Act," Schakowsky enthusiastically told the crowd.

It's a strategy coming down straight from the White House.

One of the Obama campaign's newest videos promoting the president's health care reform law features an Albuquerque woman.

The two-and-a-half minute spot features Judy Smith, who talks about how the Affordable Health Care Act saved her life by ensuring she could get free mammograms. She said the free tests enabled her to catch her breast cancer early.

Critics on the right have made repealing the health care bill a major theme of the 2012 presidential campaign. The unpopular law has drawn attack because it mandates that individuals purchase coverage. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to take up the case of whether the act violates constitutional law.

Others have said that the law is too expensive and that it hurts Medicare.

Complicating the issue is the federal rule requiring health insurance companies to provide contraceptives to employees of religious organizations.

More than 400 demonstrators gathered at Chicago's Federal Plaza in protest on Friday.

The White House is defending against those claims on Friday's anniversary. They sent a press release earlier Friday stating:

“Today, two years after we passed health care reform, more young adults have insurance, more seniors are saving money on their prescription drugs, and more Americans can rest easy knowing they won’t be dropped from their insurance plans if they get sick,” said President Obama.  “The law has made a difference for millions of Americans, and over time, it will help give even more working and middle-class families the security they deserve.”

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

•    2.5 million more young adults have health insurance on their parent’s plan.

•    5.1 million people with Medicare saved an average of $635 on the cost of their prescription drugs. And everyone on Medicare can get preventive services like mammograms for free.

•    Insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of your premium dollars on health care and not overhead and cannot raise your premiums by 10 percent or more with no accountability.

 

•    It is illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. And in 2014, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition will be illegal.

The report spotlights examples of Americans from across the country who have benefitted from the law including:

•    Devon Grochowski graduated from Pennsylvania State University in May of 2010 but she doesn’t get benefits, including health insurance, at work. Without the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows her to stay on her parent’s plan until she is 26, Devon would have had to consider leaving her job to get one that offers benefits, even if that meant leaving the field where she’s hoping to build her career.

•    Michael and Margaret Novak own a grocery store in a small rural town in Montana. They were able to receive a small business tax credit worth $10,500 to help them continue to offer health insurance to their more than two dozen employees.

•    Amy Ward of West Des Moines, Iowa came down with a rare infection that nearly cost her life. Without the Affordable Care Act, Amy and her husband may not have been able to afford all the care she needed to recover. Before the new health care law, Amy's health insurance policy had a lifetime dollar limit.

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