Health Care issues affect all of us and determining the best means of dealing with them is important to my work in Congress.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in March 2010 increases competition to help lower costs, ends the practice of denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions, and bans annual and lifetime limits on health coverage benefits. The new law makes it easier for small businesses to cover their employees with tax credits, allows parents to keep their children on their health care plans until the age of 26, creates state health exchanges to make it easier to purchase health insurance plans, and requires insurers to cover preventive services such as screenings and vaccines at no cost to patients.
In Hawaii, most of our citizens have health insurance thanks to our Prepaid Health Care Act (PHCA), enacted in 1974, which requires employers to provide Hawaii employees with health care coverage. It is our responsibility to ensure that all people in Hawaii have access to quality health care. Under the new health care law, people will have the option to purchase health care plans through the Hawaii Health Connector, which is being established by federal Exchange Planning and Establishment grants totaling more than $15 million from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
I also support federal qualified health centers in their mission to provide care throughout our state regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. Health centers are the second-largest provider of primary care services, providing care to nearly 1 in 10 Hawaii residents. In addition to providing access to care in traditionally underserved areas, health centers can serve as a hub for other human services, such as food programs for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), health education, and legal services.
For more information concerning my work and views on Health Care issues, please contact my Washington, DC office.
I look forward to your feedback.