Congress passed a historical bill this weekend to expand health care coverage to over 30 million Americans. What the Health Care Bill will accomplish for lower-income families cannot be understated:
MEDICAID Expands the federal-state Medicaid insurance program for the poor to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, $29,327 a year for a family of four. Childless adults would be covered for the first time, starting in 2014. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the tab for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016.
Near-poverty Americans not covered by Medicaid: Some 15 million more Americans than currently have it will get health care through Medicaid.
Middle class families who can't afford to buy insurance: Some 15 million will eventually get subsidies.
INSURANCE MARKET REFORMS Major consumer safeguards take effect in 2014. Insurers prohibited from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging them more. Higher premiums for women would be banned. Starting this year, insurers would be forbidden from placing lifetime dollar limits on policies, and from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing medical problems. Parents would be able to keep older kids on their policies up to age 26. A new high-risk pool would offer coverage to uninsured people with medical problems until 2014, when the coverage expansion goes into high gear.