Congress has devoted much of 2009 to the enactment of comprehensive health reform legislation. While the process has taken several twists and turns over the past year, significant steps have recently occurred to move toward the passage of a final bill. The House of Representatives has passed its version of health reform, H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The Senate passed its version of the bill, H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Thursday, December 24, 2009.
NHF has not taken a position on the entirety of either bill, each of which includes hundreds of diverse provisions. Instead we have endorsed specific provisions that are most critical to the bleeding disorders community. NHF has focused attention on private insurance reforms, such as the elimination of lifetime caps, pre-existing conditions exclusions and rescissions.
In the case of lifetime caps, NHF's advocacy efforts were instrumental in the inclusion of the immediate elimination of lifetime caps in all health insurance plans in the House bill. We continue to work to improve the language in the Senate bill. We also support the implementation of modified community rating to prevent insurers from rating based on health status, and guaranteed issue and renewal to ensure that all people have access to a plan. Further, we have taken positions on provisions to expand coverage options for the uninsured and underinsured, and have worked to ensure stream-lined access to therapies and specialists. We support limits on out-of-pocket expenses and tax credits to help individuals afford coverage. We've also advocated for our principles on other health reform issues, such as the creation of an approval pathway for biosimilars and comparative effectiveness research.
For a brief summary of some of the key provisions included in the bills, a summary of the health reform process to date, and an outlook for passage please click here.