After more than a year of public debate, Congress has taken an historic step by enacting the Patients Protection Affordable Health Care Act -- legislation that will benefit every American. My goal has always been to pass a health care reform bill that would reduce the escalating costs of health care and provide American families with affordable, quality health coverage without adding to our federal deficit. This bill achieves all of those goals.
The alarming rise in the cost of health care was one of the driving factors behind our health care reform efforts. In 1996, the average cost of a health care policy for a Maryland family was approximately $6,000; 10 years later, in 2006 that cost had risen to nearly $12,000 and by 2016 the same insurance policy was projected to increase to almost $24,000 – if we had done nothing to reform our system. Health insurance premiums have been rising at a rate three times faster than wages, and by 2016 health insurance premiums were expected to consume 32.2 percent of the projected median family income in Maryland. The health care reform signed into law by President Obama is expected to reduce health insurance premiums for Maryland families.
Together, the Patients Protection Affordable Health Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, which is a series of improvements to the base bill, will reduce overall health care costs while preserving choice of health care plans and providers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the new health care reform law will cut the deficit by over $100 billion in the first 10 years and more than $1 trillion in the second decade, all while extending benefits to 32 million uninsured Americans. Critical to keeping down costs will be the creation in 2014 of individual and small business exchanges, which will leverage buying power and provide greater choice of health care plans.
It is important that every Marylander understand what provisions are in the new law, how they will affect you and your family, and when they will take effect. Below is a chart that details the bill’s major provisions that will take effect over the next few months. You can find links to the full bill text at my website www.cardin.senate.gov <http://www.cardin.senate.gov> .
HOW HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL AFFECT MARYLANDERS
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed health insurance reform into law. Starting from day one and throughout the next year, our families, small businesses, seniors, and young Americans will begin to feel the real and positive impact of reform. The following table describes some of those benefits.