By SR. CAROL KEEHAN, DC
CHA president and chief executive officer
CHA is pleased to see the 7.1 million people who enrolled in private health insurance plans through health insurance marketplaces and now have affordable and real health security. In addition to opening access to health insurance for millions of Americans, the Affordable Care Act improved insurance coverage by requiring many needed benefits and consumer protections including preventive services without a co-pay, the option to keep adult children on parents' policies until age 26, the elimination of lifetime limits on insurance claims and a prohibition against denying coverage on the basis of preexisting health conditions.
We rejoice in the improvements to our nation's crucial Medicare program including the addition of full coverage for preventive services; a closing of the infamous "donut hole," an improvement that reduced prescription drug cost for seniors; and changes that extend the solvency of the program.
We fervently hope the nation can build on these successes and, in the coming months, get even more people signed up for coverage through the health insurance marketplaces. CHA also hopes to convince states that have refused to expand Medicaid that they are hurting families, health providers, businesses and their state's own economic position.
CHA pledges to continue to work with all people of good will to improve the provisions and functionality of this law. We have always known that the Affordable Care Act, like other laws, is not perfect, but it is a real start on the road to health security for millions of people. It is a first step in refocusing our delivery system in a way that serves our country and its people so much better.
CHA members worked tirelessly to pass the bill, to help implement it, and, especially in this last year, to help families enroll so they get the benefits intended for them. We are so grateful for — and proud of — their efforts.
CHA congratulates the Obama Administration on this milestone achievement in American history, the members of Congress who fought so hard to make it a reality, and, in a special way, those members who stood for the bill knowing it would cost them their seats in Congress. Thanks as well to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country who worked so hard to help families sign up for coverage and advocated successfully for — or continue to advocate for — the expansion of Medicaid in their states.
We have much to do to improve and expand the impact of this law, but we have seen the tangible good it has done already and will be there to share our concerns and suggestions as our nation builds on this achievement.
Copyright © 2014 by the Catholic Health Association
of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby
or call (314) 253-3477.