Health Care

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In March 2010, President Obama fulfilled a promise that Democrats have pursued for nearly a century: making health care available to all Americans. Despite unanimous opposition from Republicans, Democrats were finally able to pass comprehensive health reform into law.

By 2014, health reform will eliminate all discrimination for pre-existing conditions, start the process of expanding health insurance coverage for an additional 32 million Americans, and provide the largest middle-class tax cut for health care in history.

The Affordable Care Act has already begun to end the worst insurance company abuses. Since 2010, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied insurance.

The Affordable Care Act also provides tax cuts to small business to help offset the costs of employee coverage, and tax credits to help families pay for insurance. Health reform will also lower costs for families and for businesses and for the federal government, reducing our deficit by more than $1 trillion in the next two decades alone.

And health reform strengthens Medicare by reducing fraud, improving quality of care, and closing the Medicare “donut hole” gap in seniors’ prescription drug coverage.

Like Medicare before it, the Affordable Care Act lays a new foundation for our country that will bring additional security and stability to the American people for generations to come.

Recent Updates
  • Stand with Florida Women

    As we close out National Women’s Health Week, I’m struck by the dramatic contrast between Republicans’ and Democrats’ priorities when it comes to women’s health.

    Democrats are hard at work helping women access health care by defending the Affordable Care Act, and with it, no co-pay preventive care, guaranteed access to maternity coverage, and ending discrimination by health insurance companies based on pre-existing conditions or gender. And, of course, we believe that a woman’s health care decisions should be made between her and her doctor. Period. Not her boss. And certainly not politicians.

    Read More
  • Tennessee needs Medicaid expansion now

    Medicaid expansion is one of the most important issues to face the Tennessee General Assembly in more than 20 years. This decision will affect the lives nearly a quarter of a million working men and women in Tennessee, and now is the time to make a decision -- one that is based on people, not politics.

    Here are the facts: If we expand our Medicaid program, hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans -- will receive quality, affordable health care coverage. Tens of thousands of these individuals are children and veterans, many of them our neighbors from the National Guard who don’t qualify for full V.A. benefits.

    Every week when I get back to my district, I hear from working middle-class families whose jobs don’t provide health care and who make too little to afford real coverage on their own. Medicaid expansion offers an opportunity to expand coverage to these working families who live between 100-138 percent of the poverty line -- or about $31,000 a year for a family of four.

    Expanding Medicaid also makes financial sense. About 15 percent of the Tennessee economy is dependent upon the health care sector. Without Medicaid expansion, dozens of hospitals are in danger of closing, meaning our state could lose thousands of jobs over the next ten years.

    Drilling down deeper, we know that Tennessee currently ranks near the bottom in women’s health and infant mortality. Medicaid expansion offers a meaningful opportunity to address both these important issues.

    We know that the key to a healthy baby is a healthy mother. Unfortunately, our current system ignores the needs of working class mothers, who many times don’t qualify for Medicaid coverage until they are pregnant. Medicaid expansion would extend quality health care to women before they become pregnant, meaning a healthier pregnancy and healthier baby.

    It should be no surprise that Tennesseans have already made up their mind on this issue. A recent survey showed that 59 percent of Tennesseans believe we should expand the Medicaid program, while only 35 percent expressed reservations about such a move. This is because Tennesseans understand what is at stake.

    They know that expanding Medicaid will help working families, women and children. They also know it will reduce the amount of uncompensated care hospitals provide, which will ultimately bring insurance premiums down for everyone -- including those of us with employer provided or privately purchased coverage.

    The good news is that it’s not too late for Governor Haslam to do the right thing. Tennessee Democrats know that Governor Haslam can negotiate with the federal government on Medicaid expansion. That’s why we offered budget amendments that would allow the Governor to accept federal funds for expansion, if and only if the conditions for his hybrid plan were met by the Department of Health and Human Services.

    I understand there’s political pressure on Governor Haslam from the far right wing of his party. While putting this decision off may be politically popular, we owe it to the least among us to put people above all else and do the right thing.  Lives depend upon it.

    Joe Armstrong represents the 15th district in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He is the Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman, and President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

  • Michelle Obama: “Chip in to protect Obamacare”

    First Lady Michelle Obama sent an email to supporters urging them to chip in to support Democrats protecting Obamacare. Here's what she had to say:

    Friend --

    Earlier this month, because of what you did, it became illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against the up to 129 million Americans living with pre-existing conditions. Young Americans are able to stay on their parents' health care plans as they get on their feet, and we can now know that our insurance companies won't put lifetime caps on our coverage.

    You should be so proud of that. That happened because you organized, you talked to your friends and neighbors, and you chipped in what you could, when you could, to elect Barack and a Congress who supported his agenda.

    Today, I'm asking you to do it again.

    So before Barack gives his State of the Union address tomorrow, chip in $10 or more and help protect Obamacare:

    Thank you so much,


  • A Happier, Healthier New Year for all Americans

    When the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2014, the six million Americans who had already signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act had more to celebrate than just the start of a new year.

    Nathan A., a brain cancer survivor from Salem, VA, says that his new health care plan "has freed me from a weight, a chain, a prison of costs that were astronomical." Auldrige’s monthly premium has been cut by over 75%, which is a huge relief on his community service worker’s salary.

    For Eleta P. in St. Paul, MN, January 1st brought peace of mind. After applying for insurance through Minnesota’s health care exchange, Eleta discovered that she and her children are eligible for Medicaid. This mom says her new insurance is “a big deal” because “it helps ease your mind when you know that that part of your life is covered.

    Peace of mind has also come to Bo F. of Melbourne, FL, who couldn’t get coverage previously because of his pre-existing conditions. When he was uninsured, Frazer said he was “always worried about losing my house,” due to an unexpected health care crisis. But now Frazer and his wife have affordable coverage.

    But Obamacare is about so much more than planning for the worst. Because health care plans now include no-copay preventive care, people like Ana Y. from Kearny, NJ are getting their first mammograms and doctors like Sam W. at the University of North Carolina are making sure that patients have access to the preventive care they need — from colonoscopies to flu shots — to stay healthy.

    From knowing that they’ll have coverage for afford care if the worst happens to being able to prevent illness in the first place, Obamacare has changed millions of lives in the past week. Maybe Champaign, IL’s Adam P., whose insurance card arrived just over a week ago, put it best when he said that "I have been walking a tightrope and have had some twists and falls off of it. To not have to worry about this anymore is a tremendous relief.

    Here's to a happy and healthy new year for all Americans.

    Want to read more about the millions of Americans whose coverage started on January 1st? Don’t miss more stories from North Carolina, Kentucky, and more

The GOP Health Care Plan: This Is Obamacare
Recent Action
Creating greater health care competition and accountability
Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, providing consumers more choices and improved accountability.
Helping stabilize the economy and reduce the deficit
Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, which reduces the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next ten years, and $1 trillion the second decade, by limiting unnecessary government spending, waste, fraud and abuse.
Making health care affordable for all Americans
Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, providing the largest ever middle-class tax cut for health care, reducing premiums and expanding access for millions of families and small businesses.