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Late Saturday evening, the US House of Representatives passed HR-3962, the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act, by a margin of 220 to 215. If passed into law, the bill would provide affordable, comprehensive health coverage for nearly all CT residents. The measure requires both consumers and employers to purchase coverage, includes subsidies for low income consumers and small businesses, a decent public optional plan for consumers to choose (or not), closes the Medicare prescription drug coverage doughnut hole, a large increase in Medicaid eligibility regardless of family circumstances, important insurance market reforms including prohibition of coverage denials for pre-existing conditions, creation of a health insurance exchange to help consumers choose coverage that works for them, and initiatives to moderate rising health costs, manage chronic disease, create patient-centered medical homes, and support prevention and wellness. The bill is the most important health legislation to pass since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965. All of CT’s five House members voted in favor of HR-3962. The reform battle now moves to the Senate with far weaker proposals pending.
Ellen Andrews