Americans continue to benefit from new treatments developed by scientists dedicated to understanding and eradicating illness. Yet for too many people, the cost of health care has been an obstacle to receiving needed treatment and valuable preventive services. Senator Feinstein supports continued efforts to improve access to health care while continuing to make investments in research and disease prevention.
Health Care Reform
Senator Feinstein supported the historic Affordable Care Act, which is already improving access to health care for millions of Californians. Significant provisions of the law include:
- Beginning in 2014, health insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Young adults are allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
- Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance must now cover many preventive health care services without a co-pay.
- The Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole” is being closed, saving seniors billions of dollars.
Since October 1, 2013, individuals without access to affordable insurance coverage through an employer or Medicare have been able to shop for affordable insurance on California’s new health insurance marketplace, Covered California.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act and Covered California, view and download a booklet (pdf) here.
In addition to individual coverage, employers with fewer than 25 employees that offer health insurance to their 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.
In addition to increasing the accessibility of health coverage, the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of all premium dollars on medical care rather than administrative costs, profits and advertising. In addition, the law requires health insurance companies to provide state health insurance commissioners with information justifying rate increases above 10 percent.
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 and is pleased that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned 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.
Senator Feinstein also supports efforts to reduce the health threat from cigarettes and second-hand smoke. In 2009, she co-sponsored historic legislation which was signed into law that gave the FDA clear authority to regulate tobacco products.
Lowering the Cost of Health Insurance Premiums
Senator Feinstein is very concerned that rising health insurance premiums and excessive insurance company profits are negatively affecting California families. She supported provisions in the Affordable Care Act designed to slow the growth of health insurance 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 about cancer and other diseases. She is proud that California is a national leader in conducting medical research and is a strong supporter of funding for the National Institutes of Health, which funds research studies into a variety of diseases.
In 1997, Senator Feinstein was involved in crafting legislation to create the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, the first-ever semi-postal 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 those 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/