Completion of Congress' action on the health care reform bill brings with it important improvements to the health care system that the American Heart Association advocated for to help make health care coverage more affordable and accessible, improve the quality of care, and place a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness.
With the passage of reform, patients with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied coverage (beginning this year for kids and in 2014 for adults), lifetime caps placed on coverage will be eliminated and annual caps will be curtailed starting this year, and preventive care will now be available with no co-pays or deductibles for seniors and consumers in new health insurance plans. Additionally, families will be able to make healthier choices about the meals they select at most restaurants because of the calorie information that will be added to menus. The new law also includes incentives to improve the quality of care patients receive, by rewarding value over volume and improving coordination and teamwork among health care professionals. To learn more about what reform means to patients with heart disease and stroke, please visit our website at www.americanheart.org/accesstocare.
While the new law is not perfect, the American Heart Association supported passage of the final package because it will make significant progress towards improving affordability and accessibility of care for patients and their families. The status quo is simply untenable for too many Americans and unsustainable for all of us.
Over the upcoming months and likely years, the American Heart Association will work with Congress, the Administration and our patient advocacy partners to monitor the implementation of these provisions and to build upon this progress as we continue to advocate to ensure the health care system meets the needs of all heart disease and stroke patients.