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Health Care Reform Provides Quality Care for Many More; Still Needs Our Support

February 2011

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care reform, was signed into law March 2010. This milestone represents the most important advance in secure, quality health care for people with HIV since the start of the Ryan White Program. However, this historic health care expansion is now under serious attack by those who would roll it back by taking advantage of misunderstandings and negative propaganda about reform. We cannot afford to let this hard-won victory be dismantled or underfunded. Each of us has an important role to play in dfending health care reform and ensuring a successful implementation.

Most people still don't understand the ACA even as it is already making a dramatic improvement in many people's lives and health. Significant activity is already underway to allow expanded insurance coverage to upwards of 32 million uninsured Americans. by 2014 people will be guaranteed access to quality insurance regardless of their health status, a required package of essential benefits, significant assistance to low-income people to get insurance, and caps on the out-of-pocket costs most Americans pay.

You can help defend health care reform by educating yourself and your loved ones about the benefits of the ACA already in place and those to come in 2014. You can also contact your elected officials in Congress and let them know why you support the ACA and how it will make a difference in your life and your health.

Already, health care reform has ensured that:

In 2014, many significant protections and expansions in coverage will be enacted:

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People who currently have insurance sometimes find it hard to see how health reform will help them. However, health care reform not only provides new coverage for people who are uninsured, it also provides much needed security for those who are already insured.

For the first time, people will not be tied to their jobs for fear of losing health insurance coverage for themselves or a family member and for their families. Many people currently stay in jobs or fear lay-offs and company closures primarily because they will be unable to get insurance for themselves or their family.

Insurance companies can no longer take away your coverage if you get sick. The elimination of discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions (which can include such seemingly inconsequential conditions as varicose veins as well as more serious conditions such as HIV), subsidies in exchanges, and Medicaid expansion should mean that people who lose or change jobs will, at a minimum, keep their health insurance.

The cap on out-of-pocket expenses and the prohibition on lifetime and annual caps will provide much needed security to Americans with high medical costs. Currently excessive medical costs are the leading reason for bankruptcy in the United States.

Now is the time to understand and take advantage of the benefits of health reform that have already been enacted. It is also critical to defend health care reform against attempts in Congress to repeal, defend and/or dismantle health care reform. Contact your elected officials and tell them how health care reform will improve your life and your health and that of those you love. If health care reform is fully implemented all of us will benefit from the same access to secure affordable health insurance enjoyed by members of Congress and their families.

Click here for an up-to-date listing of Congressional addresses.




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