The President Highlights Health Insurance Consumer Protections
July 29, 2009
05:59 PM EST
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Speaking to North Carolinians at a town hall in Raleigh, the President made clear why health reform will benefit all Americans: "if you’ve got health insurance, then the reform we’re proposing will also help you because it will provide you more stability and more security. Because the truth is we have a system today that works well for the insurance industry, but it doesn’t work well for you." We all know the horror stories, which is why the health insurance consumer protections that are part of reform are so important.
At the town hall, the President outlined these core principles:
Let me be specific. We will stop insurance companies from denying you coverage because of your medical history. (Applause.) I've told this story before – I will never forget watching my own mother, as she fought cancer in her final days, worrying about whether her insurer would claim her illness was a preexisting condition so they could wiggle out of paying for her coverage. How many of you have worried about the same thing? (Applause.) A lot of people have gone through this. Many of you have been denied insurance or heard of someone who was denied insurance because they got – had a preexisting condition. That will no longer be allowed with reform. (Applause.) We won't allow that. (Applause.) We won't allow that.
With reform, insurance companies will have to abide by a yearly cap on how much you can be charged for your out-of-pocket expenses. No one in America should go broke because of an illness. (Applause.)
We will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies – (applause) – eye and foot exams for diabetics, so we can avoid chronic illnesses that cost not only lives, but money. (Applause.)
No longer will insurance companies be allowed to drop or water down coverage for someone who's become seriously ill. That's not right, it's not fair. (Applause.) We will stop insurance companies from placing arbitrary caps on the coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime.(Applause.)
So my point is, whether or not you have health insurance right now, the reforms we seek will bring stability and security that you don't have today – reforms that will become more urgent and more urgent with each passing year.
So, in the end, the debate about reform boils down to a choice between two approaches. The first is projected to double your health care costs over the next decade, make millions more Americans uninsured, bankrupt state and federal governments, and allow insurance companies to run roughshod over consumers. That's one option. That's called the status quo. That's what we have right now.
I want everybody to understand this. If we do nothing, I can almost guarantee you your premiums will double over the next 10 years because that's what they did over the last 10 years. It will go up three times faster than your wages, so a bigger and bigger chunk of your paycheck will be going into health insurance. It will eat into the possibility of you getting a raise on your job because your employer is going to be looking and saying, I can't afford to give you a raise because my health care costs just went up 10, 20, 30 percent. And Medicare, which seniors rely on, is going to become more and more vulnerable. On current projections, Medicare will be in the red in less than 10 years.
So that's the status quo. When everybody goes around saying, why is Obama taking on health care – that's the answer. That's one option. I don't like that option. You shouldn't either. (Applause.) That plan doesn't sound too good. That's the health care system we have right now.
You can read more about the President’s eight health insurance consumer protections here, and figure out how reform will directly affect you and your family.
Related Topics: Health Care