Tucson, Ariz. –Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva will mark the March 23 three-year anniversary of passing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week with two events in Tucson on Wednesday when he meets with El Rio Community Health Center officials to discuss operations and ACA implementation and delivers remarks at the Planned Parenthood annual luncheon. His meeting at El Rio at 839 W. Congress takes place at 10:00 a.m. and is open to media after the end of his closed-door discussion with Executive Director Kathy Byrne. His Planned Parenthood speech is at noon the same day at the Doubletree Hotel at 445 S. Alvernon.
Department of Health and Human Services information available at http://1.usa.gov/14jPCXx outlines statewide benefits of the law and explains implementation dates yet to come. Grijalva voted in favor of the ACA and has often spoken about the need to protect and strengthen the law.
“After three years, millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Arizonans are seeing lower costs and better coverage,” Grijalva said. “Adults, retirees and children are receiving critical benefits,and I’m as proud as ever that I voted to make it possible.”
The health care law has already meant:
· No lifetime limit on coverage for over 2 million residents of Arizona, including 769,000 women and 570,000 children.The health care law prohibits insurers from placing a lifetime limit on coverage. In the past, lifetime limits on coverage forced families to declare personal bankruptcy.
· Lower drug costs for seniors in Arizona. The health care law makes prescription drug coverage for people with Medicare more affordableby gradually closing the gap in drug coverage known as the ‘donut hole.’Because of this provision, in 2012 alone, 65,267 seniors in Arizona who reached the ‘donut hole’ saved $44.9 million on their drugs – an average of $689 per senior.
· Free key preventive services for seniors in Arizona.The health care law provides free Medicare coverage of key preventive services, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and annual wellness visits. Because of this provision,434,397 seniors in Arizona received one or more free preventive services under Medicare in 2012, lowering their out-of-pocket health care costs.
· Free key preventive services for individuals under age 65 in Arizona.The health care law also provides, for those enrolled in most private plans, free coverage of key preventive services.As a result of this provision, 1,406,000 individuals in Arizona with private insurance plans received one or more free key preventive services, such as mammograms or flu shots, in 2011 and 2012.
· Coverage for young adults in Arizona.The health care law requires health insurers to permit parents to retain coverage for their children until their 26th birthday.
· Rebates from insurance companies benefiting 413,912 consumers in Arizona.Under the health care law, insurers must spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care and quality improvement rather than CEO pay, profits and administrative costs.Each summer, all insurers that fail to meet this standard must pay rebates to their customers.Last summer, consumers in Arizona received $27,868,667 with an average rebate of $118 per family covered by a policy.
“We can build on these successes or we can listen to conservative activists who wants to give insurance companies another blank check paid by the rest of us,” Grijalva said. “We all remember the higher costs and reduced benefits of the old system, and we’ve certainly heard from some quarters how great it was. I trust the good people of Southern Arizona to know the difference between hype and reality.”