The following is the whole text of an email sent to me, Eileen Trainor, from Congressman Lloyd Doggett (Democrat, Texas). In this message, he details his view of the new health care bill. I find the explanation succinct and timely. Perhaps it will help you understand what the new health care bill means to you.
Today, the House of Representatives took another important step in securing comprehensive health insurance reform and extending the life of the Medicare trust fund. With the full support of the AARP and American Medical Association and many other organizations that represent doctors and seniors, I supported this bill. Now we need the Senate to act, so that the President can sign it into law.
What difference will it make to you? Currently, seniors pay 25% of the cost of prescription drugs up to $2,830, and then have to pay 100% up to $6,300 after which Medicare catastrophic coverage applies. Under the new law, we begin to close this costly, so called "donut hole gap" in coverage. If you reach the hole in coverage this year, you will get an immediate $250 payment toward the cost of your prescriptions. Going forward, we fill in the coverage gap over time until it is finally closed. And this reform also makes it easier for those with very high drug costs to reach catastrophic coverage faster.
This legislation extends the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by almost another decade, ensuring that you can count on Medicare. Because the Part B premium is based on how much Medicare spends each year, by controlling spending in Medicare we help keep down the cost of future Part B premiums to you.
For the first time, there will be no charge for preventive services, such as flu shots, cancer screenings, and tests to check for high cholesterol. There will also no longer be any charge for annual wellness visits. Because Medicare payments to primary care doctors are increased, you will likely find more of our local doctors accepting new Medicare patients. And this reform adopts a number of significant steps to stop waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says this measure will NOT add to the deficit, in fact, over the next ten years it will cut the deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years. There have been many false accusations about what the bill does by the same forces who fought so hard to prevent President Johnson from gaining approval of Medicare 45 years ago. Though they will continue to promote misinformation and fear, their obstructionism has been overcome once again.
Listening to you, I will continue working to strengthen the Medicare program and ensure that seniors and people with disabilities have access to good, affordable coverage through Medicare, for all their health care needs, including prescription drugs.
Please let me hear from you as you have questions about the progress we have made or concerns about any other federal issue on which I may be of service.
To our health and the health of our elected officials that voted and signed this into law. May the Republicans (not one of who signed this bill) lose their offices next election.