Americans continue to benefit from new treatments developed by scientists dedicated to understanding and eradicating diseases. Yet for too many people, cost has been an obstacle to receiving needed health care, including essential preventive services. Senator Feinstein supports ongoing efforts to improve access to care, reduce costs for patients and families and make investments in research and disease prevention.
Health Care Reform
Senator Feinstein supported the historic Affordable Care Act, which is benefiting millions of Californians.
Thanks to the law:
- Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Women can no longer be charged more than men for the same coverage.
- Young adults are allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
- Medicare, Medicaid and private health plans must cover many preventive health care services without cost-sharing.
- The Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole” is closing, saving seniors billions of dollars.
- Medi-Cal has been expanded to cover more than 2 million more low-income Californians.
- Financial help is available to help ensure plans are affordable and fit families’ budgets.
Individuals and families without access to affordable insurance through an employer or Medicare can access health plans in California’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can access affordable group plans in Covered California’s Small Business Health Options Program or SHOP. Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees may qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. The SHOP Tax Credit Estimator can help determine if a business qualifies and how much the tax credit could be worth. For more information, click here.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act and Covered California, view and download a booklet (pdf) here.
In addition to expanding access, the Affordable Care Act improves the quality of coverage by requiring insurers to spend at least 80 percent of all premium dollars on medical care rather than administrative costs, profits and advertising.
Protecting Children from Public Health Threats
Senator Feinstein has worked to protect children and other vulnerable populations from exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals and products. She has been a leader in pushing for the removal of the endocrine-disrupting chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) from consumer products, which helped result in the Food and Drug Administration banning the use of this additive in baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula containers.
Senator Feinstein introduced the BPA in Food Packaging Right to Know Act, which requires food packaging that contains BPA to be clearly labeled. The bill would also require the Department of Health and Human Services to assess the safety of food packaging that contains BPA, as well as BPA replacements.
Senator Feinstein also supports efforts to reduce the health threat from cigarettes and secondhand smoke. In 2009, she co-sponsored historic legislation that was signed into law that gave the FDA clear authority to regulate tobacco products.
Lowering the Cost of Health Insurance Premiums
Senator Feinstein is concerned about the negative effects of rising health insurance premiums and excessive insurance company profits on California families. She supported provisions in the Affordable Care Act to slow the growth of premiums and has introduced legislation to give regulators more power to stop unjustified premium increases.
Unfortunately, California’s insurance commissioner lacks the authority to prevent unjustified health insurance increases from taking effect. Senator Feinstein introduced the Health Insurance Rate Review Act to allow the federal Secretary of Health and Human Services to block or modify rate increases in states like California where the insurance commissioner lacks such authority.
Research to Defeat Cancer and Other Diseases
As co-chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition, Senator Feinstein has worked to raise awareness, improve treatment and increase research on cancer and other diseases. She is proud that California is a national leader in conducting cutting-edge medical research, and is a strong supporter of funding for the National Institutes of Health, which conducts research into a variety of diseases.
In 1997, Senator Feinstein was involved in crafting legislation to create the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, the first semipostal stamp. The stamp, which Senator Feinstein has helped extend in past years, has raised more than $75 million for breast cancer research in the United States.
More Information Regarding Your Rights and Benefits Under the Affordable Care Act:
- For small business owners: http://www.sba.gov/healthcare
- For people without affordable insurance: http://www.coveredca.com/individuals_and_families.html
- For people who already have insurance: https://www.healthcare.gov/if-you-have-health-insurance/
- For Medicare beneficiaries: http://www.medicare.gov/about-us/affordable-care-act/affordable-care-act.html
- For young adults: https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults/