Thursday, March 18, 2010

By the Numbers: Health Care Reform Will Benefit Northeastern Wisconsin

[We have received the following press release from Citizen Action of Wisconsin and are pleased to publish it on their behalf.]

As the health care reform bill approaches the historic vote which may occur as early as Sunday, new numbers released by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce quantify the benefits of the bill for
the 6th Congressional District. The district is represented by Congressman Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac).

"All of the focus on the legislative horse race has obscured the tremendous benefits of this bill to the people of Northeastern Wisconsin who are suffering from skyrocketing health care costs," said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. "Support is increasing steadily for the bill as more and more people understand that it will make health coverage more affordable and more secure for families and small businesses, virtually eliminate medical bankruptcies, and assure people cannot be denied coverage just because they have been sick."

The bill that Congress is about to vote on will have the following benefits for residents in the 6th Congressional District:

* Premium subsidies and tax credits for up to 171,000 families and 13,500 small businesses in Northeastern Wisconsin to help them afford coverage. The average family of four making $50,000 per year will be eligible for a tax credit of $5,800 per year, and small businesses will receive a 50% tax credit provide health insurance. Everyone will have access to group health insurance, and there will be new limits on insurance industry profits and overhead.

* Prevent 1,100 medical cost related bankruptcies per year in Northeastern Wisconsin. The bill eliminates annual and life time limits on coverage. The bill also caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $6,200 for individuals and $12,400 for families who purchase insurance on the new health insurance exchanges, or through a small business.

* Guarantee that 6,200 residents of Northeastern Wisconsin in the 6th Congressional District with preexisting conditions can buy coverage.

* Improve Medicare for 117,000 people in Northeastern Wisconsin by closing the prescription drug donut hole, and providing free primary and preventative care.

* Provide health care coverage to 28,500 uninsured residents of Northeastern Wisconsin who live in the 6th Congressional District.

* Improve health coverage for 486,000 residents of Northeastern Wisconsin who are covered by private insurance (70% of Northeastern Wisconsin residents in the 6th Congressional District). People with private insurance will be able to keep their current coverage, and will be protected by insurance reforms such as the elimination of annual and lifetime limits, the elimination of recessions for people who become ill when insured, and a ban on coverage denials for preexisting conditions. The bill also limits insurance industry profits and overhead, which will assure that more premium dollars go to medical care.

* Give 56,000 young adults in Northeastern Wisconsin the opportunity to obtain health coverage through their parent's policies.

* Provides millions in new funding to 3 community health centers in Northeastern Wisconsin in the 6th Congressional District.


Robert Kraig
Executive Director
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
221 S. 2nd St. Suite 400
Milwaukee, WI 53204


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