Far from being a “job-killing health care law,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is one of the largest job creation bills New Mexico has seen since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. PPACA also contains a number of common sense insurance reforms that take effect immediately. In the exclusive video below, Senator Jeff Bingaman describes some of the most important reforms and what they mean for New Mexico. (Ironically, he was suffering from a cold when I interviewed him.)
Please feel free to share this video with friends who want to know how they will benefit from PPACA
The transcript follows below:
RACHC: We all know about the “death panels.” Can you tell us some other aspects of the health care reform bill, ones that are maybe a little more real?
Senator Bingaman: Well the health care reform bill, I think, is a very major benefit for us in New Mexico. What it does is it expands the Medicare…er excuse me…the Medicaid eligibility so that anyone with income up to 133% of poverty will be eligible for Medicaid and that’s a lot of people in our state. About another 120,000 people in New Mexico who are not currently on Medicaid will be eligible for Medicaid beginning in 2014. In addition, it sets up what we call insurance exchanges. People will be able to obtain insurance…people who have incomes above 133% will be able to obtain insurance through these insurance exchanges. The government will subsidize the purchase of that insurance depending upon the level of their income up to about 400% of poverty. So it’s a way for us to get…there’s 26% of New Mexico citizens who don’t currently have any coverage…it’s a way to get coverage to that group. And we think it will also result in reduction in cost growth in health care, and also improvements in quality. So that’s the idea behind it. It’s a pretty large piece of legislation. It’s going to take several years for it to be implemented. They’ve started implementing it now. Some provisions have gone into effect already. There’s a provision that says anyone who has a policy and wants their child or their young adult to remain on that policy up to age 26 can do so and keep that person on there. Now they can charge a little more…the company can, but they’ve got to keep them on the policy if they choose to stay on the policy.
RACHC: Well, I’m certainly grateful. I have a seventeen-year-old daughter.
Senator Bingaman: Well that will be happening. And there are also provisions in there for insuring that people up to age eighteen cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. So that’s an important improvement in the law. There’s also a provision that says there can be no more recision of contracts or insurance policies unless the company can show that there was fraud committed.
RACHC: Can you explain recision for people who might not know?
Senator Bingaman: Well recision is essentially when someone gets sick or comes down with cancer or some major ailment the practice in the past has been that some companies will start looking around and figure out some reason why they can just go ahead and drop coverage. There’ve been a lot of instances where they have done that. It has not been illegal in the past and now it will be. So that’s an improvement as well. And there are some others…preventive care, particularly for people on Medicare…check-ups, immunizations, those types of things, flu shots, all of that will be done without any co-pay for people on Medicare in the future.
RACHC: Wow, that’s very nice.
Senator Bingaman: Yup.