2011-03-30 / Features

Crowley Marks Anniversary Of Healthcare Law


(L. to r.); Congressmember Joseph Crowley, District Leader George Dixon, Elmcor Senior Center Executive Director Victoria Williams and seniors from the center celebrate by eating donut holes to symbolize the closing of the gap in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage as a result of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. (L. to r.); Congressmember Joseph Crowley, District Leader George Dixon, Elmcor Senior Center Executive Director Victoria Williams and seniors from the center celebrate by eating donut holes to symbolize the closing of the gap in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage as a result of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. On March 23, the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act into law, Congressmember Joseph Crowley (DQueens/ The Bronx) joined seniors from Elmcor Senior Center in Elmhurst for a discussion on how the law is helping them. Crowley addressed how the law is strengthening seniors’ Medicare coverage, reducing the cost of their prescription drugs, and improving their access to preventive care.

“In just one year, the Affordable Care Act has brought a number of healthcare benefits to millions of Americans, including seniors, children and small business owners,” Crowley said. “With the Affordable Care Act, Americans—not the insurance industry – are finally in charge of their own health care and soon, all Americans will be able to rely on access to quality, affordable care.”

During the event, Crowley spoke extensively about the imminent end to the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, or the donut hole. Under the Affordable Care Act, nearly four million seniors who were caught in the donut hole received a $250 rebate in 2010, and in 2011, seniors will receive a 50 percent discount on covered brand name prescription drugs in the gap. Seniors are also scheduled to receive additional discounts on prescription drugs so by 2020 any gap in coverage will be fully closed. Crowley and event participants enjoyed donut holes to celebrate this key provision of the healthcare law.

The Affordable Care Act is especially beneficial to seniors and the Medicare program.

The law will provide:

•A one-time, tax-free $250 rebate check to help the nearly four million seniors who reached the Medicare Part D coverage gap in 2010, covering the costs of prescription drugs.

•Reduced prescription drug costs. Nearly 48,000 seniors who fall into the coverage gap have already benefited this year from a new 50 percent discount on covered drugs, saving an average of $800 per beneficiary;

•Free annual wellness visits and free Medicare coverage of key preventive services.

•Strengthened Medicare for the longterm – extending Medicare’s solvency by 12 years;

•A crack down on Medicare fraud, which creates savings for both seniors and all U.S. taxpayers.

A number of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into place, including:

•Health coverage that cannot be arbitrarily cancelled if you become sick;

•A promise that children cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition;

•The opportunity for young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ health plan, regardless of dependent status;

•Help for more than four million small businesses nationwide who are eligible for tax credits to help cover healthcare premiums for employees.

•Create additional benefits to help Americans afford and access quality healthcare are scheduled to take effect in 2014.

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