You Can Double the Difference You Make for Vulnerable Seniors — Donate Today, and Your Gift Will Be Matched! Find Out More
by Patricia Barry, Susan Jaffe, From the AARP Bulletin Print Edition, April 1, 2010|Comments: 0
In a historic climax to a bitter year-long political battle, on March 21 the House of Representatives narrowly approved a Senate bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system. With President Obama’s signature, the bill immediately became law.
In the turbulent days leading up to passage, Obama and Democratic leaders contended not only with fierce opposition from Republicans, none of whom voted for it, but also with the reluctance of some House Democrats who objected to certain provisions in the Senate bill. In the end, these members agreed to approve both the Senate bill, by a 219-212 vote, and a package of changes to it that, at press time, is expected to pass the Senate.
The landmark legislation represents an achievement for Obama that other presidents—Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton—sought unsuccessfully for nearly a century.
The law will extend health coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, penalize many employers who do not offer coverage and individuals who do not purchase it, provide subsidies for people with limited and moderate incomes, and bar insurers from rejecting people with preexisting conditions.
Provisions that take effect within a year include: banning insurers from arbitrarily canceling or limiting coverage; providing tax credits to small businesses that offer coverage; providing temporary insurance for people who have been denied it because of their health; allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26; requiring insurers to use a high percentage of premiums for benefits instead of profits and overhead.
The measure guarantees basic Medicare benefits and gradually closes the “doughnut hole” in drug coverage, starting with a $250 rebate this year. It also adds free preventive care and phases in cuts in government subsidies to private Medicare Advantage plans, which, with other savings from reducing fraud and waste, extends Medicare’s solvency by nearly a decade.
The cost of the reforms—$940 billion over the next 10 years—is paid for by measures that include reducing Medicare spending, levying a new tax on high-end “Cadillac” health plans and raising taxes on the wealthy. The independent Congressional Budget Office states that reform savings will trim the federal deficit by $143 billion through 2019.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Members save on eye exams and eyewear at participating locations.
Members earn points on select Walgreens brand health and wellness products.
Free telephone-administered confidential hearing test for AARP members.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at