Quick Fact: Perino falsely claims health care benefits would take years to start
On March 12, Fox News contributor Dana Perino falsely claimed that people would “not see benefits for four to five years after” the health care reform bill passes. In fact, numerous benefits contained in the Senate bill would become available in the first year after the bill is enacted.
Perino falsely claims benefits will take years to begin
Perino: People would “not see benefits for four to five years after” bill is enacted. On the March 12 edition of Fox News’ On the Record, Fox News contributor Dana Perino said of the health care reform legislation, “people are going to be taxed for the next several years and not see benefits for four to five years after that.”
Fact: Numerous benefits in Senate health care bill would “be available in the first year after enactment” of the bill
Senate Democrats note “Immediate Benefits” of health care bill. According to a document put forth by Senate Democrats summarizing the “Immediate Benefits” of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the bill includes numerous benefits that would “be available in the first year after enactment” of the bill. Indeed, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein published the following list of benefits that the Senate bill would provide “before 2014″:
1) Eliminating lifetime limits, and cap annual limits, on health-care benefits. In other words, if you get an aggressive cancer and your treatment costs an extraordinary amount, your insurer can’t suddenly remind you that subparagraph 15 limited your yearly expenses to $30,000, and they’re not responsible for anything above that.
2) No more rescissions.
3) Some interim help for people who have preexisting conditions, though the bill does not instantly ban discrimination on preexisting conditions.
4) Requiring insurers to cover preventive care and immunizations.
5) Allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance plan until age 26.
6) Developing uniform coverage documents so people can compare different insurance policies in an apples-to-apples fashion.
7) Forcing insurers to spend 80 percent of all premium dollars on medical care (75 percent in the individual market), thus capping the money that can go toward administration, profits, etc.
Creating an appeals process and consumer advocate for insurance customers.
9) Developing a temporary re-insurance program to help early retirees (folks over 55) afford coverage.
10) Creating an internet portal to help people shop for and compare coverage.
11) Miscellaneous administrative simplification stuff.
12) Banning discrimination based on salary (i.e., where a company that’s not self-insured makes only some full-time workers eligible for coverage.
Obama’s plan also provides immediate benefits. According to the House Committee on Education and Labor, Obama’s health care plan also provides numerous benefits that will enact immediately after the bill’s passage or within the first year, including protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, tax breaks for small businesses, and aid to seniors participating in Medicare Part D. From the House Committee on Education and Labor:
Access to Affordable Coverage for the Uninsured with Pre-existing Conditions
- The President’s proposal will provide $5 billion in immediate federal support for a new program to provide affordable coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. This provision is effective 90 days after enactment, and coverage under this program will continue until new Exchanges are operational in 2014.
Access to Quality Care for Vulnerable Populations
- The President’s proposal makes an immediate and substantial investment in Community Health Centers to provide the funding needed to expand access to health care in communities where it is needed most. This $11 billion investment begins in 2010 and extends for five years.
No Pre-existing Coverage Exclusions for Children
- The President’s proposal eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions for all Americans beginning in 2014, when the Exchanges are operational. Recognizing the special vulnerability of children, the plan prohibits health insurers from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for children, effective six months after enactment and applying to all new plans.
Re-insurance for Retiree Health Benefit Plans
- The President’s proposal will create immediate access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees, effective 90 days after enactment. This re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees.
Closing the Coverage Gap in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit
- The President’s proposal begins to fill the “donut hole” by giving seniors a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010.
Small Business Tax Credits
- The President’s proposal will offer tax credits to small businesses beginning in 2010 to make employee coverage more affordable.
- Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage; later, when Exchanges are operational, tax credits will be up to 50 percent of premiums. The full credit will be available to firms with 10 or fewer employees with average annual wages of $25,000, while firms with up to 25 or fewer employees and average annual wages of up to $50,000 will also be eligible for the credit.
- The President’s proposal protects patients’ choice of doctors by allowing plan members to pick any participating primary care provider, prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization before and woman sees an ob-gyn, and ensuring access to emergency care. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all new plans.
Extension of Dependent Coverage for Young Adults
- The President’s proposal will require insurers to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all plans for young adults who are not offered qualified coverage elsewhere.
Free Prevention Benefits
- The President’s proposal will require coverage of prevention and wellness benefits and exempt these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements in public and private insurance coverage. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all new plans and all plans in 2018.
- Beginning on January 1, 2011, Medicare beneficiaries will receive a free, annual wellness visit and will have all cost-sharing waived for prevention services.
No Lifetime Limits on Coverage
- The President’s proposal will prohibit insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all plans.
Restricted Annual Limits on Coverage
- The President’s proposal will tightly restrict insurance companies’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care, effective six months after enactment for all new health plans. These tight restrictions will be defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. When the Exchanges are operational, the use of annual limits will be banned for all plans in 2014.
Protection from Rescissions of Existing Coverage
- The President’s proposal will stop insurers from rescinding insurance when claims are filed, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all plans.
Prohibits Discrimination Based on Salary
- The President’s proposal will prohibit group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all group health plans in 2014.