From small businesses to seniors, from the uninsured to families struggling to find affordable health insurance they do have, the health care reform bill being considered in the House of Representatives will make a real, positive impact on the everyday lives of thousands of North Carolina state residents. Representing workers across the country, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is highlighting some important numbers compiled by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee that truly demonstrate the need for reform now. While opponents of the legislation have fought hard to cover up the truth about its benefits, the numbers say it all.
As the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) comes to the floor for a vote, it’s clear that North Carolina’s delegation, particularly Reps. Bob Etheridge, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell, will have a chance to side with state residents over the insurance companies.
Real Reform: Strengthening North Carolina Residents’ Financial Security
Too many North Carolina families have faced financial ruin because of skyrocketing health care costs, and even more are just one medical emergency away from disaster. In 2008, thousands of North Carolina residents filed for health care-related bankruptcies, including:
· 1,100 families in the 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Etheridge)
· 700 families in the 7th Congressional District (Rep. McIntyre)
· 700 families in the 8th Congressional District (Rep. Kissell)
Just among these areas of the state, that’s 2,500 families who can’t choose between paying for prescription drugs and buying food anymore, because they can’t afford either.
A ‘Yes’ vote on reform would mean a hard cap on annual out-of-pocket costs at $10,000 per year, effectively preventing citizens from going bankrupt because of out-of-control health care costs. North Carolina families on the verge of bankruptcy can’t wait for reform any longer.
Real Reform: Protecting North Carolina Seniors by Strengthening Medicare
Too many North Carolina seniors have fallen through the cracks of a broken system that prioritizes insurance companies’ profits over their seniors’ health care needs. Thanks to the so-called “donut hole,” seniors every year are forced to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs, and many of them can’t afford it. The number of seniors affected by congressional district:
· 6,600 seniors in Rep. Etheridge’s district
· 8,600 seniors in Rep. McIntyre’s district
· 6,800 seniors in Rep. Kissell’s district
A ‘Yes’ vote on reform would mean cutting brand-name prescription drug costs in the Part D “donut hole” by 50% for these seniors, and would ultimately eliminate the “donut hole” altogether.
Real Reform: Covering those without health insurance
Hundreds of thousands of North Carolina residents are currently living without any health insurance at all. The Affordable Health Care for America Act will mean affordable and accessible coverage for:
· 96,000 uninsured individuals in the 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Etheridge)
· 105,000 uninsured individuals in the 7th Congressional District (Rep. McIntyre)
· 85,000 uninsured individuals in the 8th Congressional District (Rep. Kissell)
Just among these areas, that’s 286,000 more North Carolina residents who won’t have to worry any more about their ability to afford care for themselves, a sick child, or an ailing spouse.
Real Reform: Standing Up for Main Street Small Businesses
Small business owners have seen firsthand how a failing health care system can cripple their businesses at a time when we’re relying on them to help our economy recover. A ‘Yes’ vote on the Affordable Health Care for America Act would mean tax credits of up to 50% of the health insurance costs for North Carolina small businesses with under 25 employees and average wages under $40,000.
This tax credit means support for thousands of small businesses around the state, including:
· 13,000 small businesses in Rep. Etheridge’s district
· 14,600 small businesses in Rep. McIntyre’s district
· 13,600 small businesses in Rep. Kissell’s district
Real Reform: Ending discrimination against pre-existing conditions
Right now insurance companies routinely deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. A ‘Yes’ vote on reform puts an end to this discriminatory practice for:
· 16,900 individuals in the 2nd Congressional District
· 17,400 individuals in the 7th Congressional District
· 14,900 individuals in the 8th Congressional District
Scare tactics from the big health insurance companies and their allies in Congress won’t change the fact that millions of families will benefit from reform, or that the plan is paid for in full and will reduce the national deficit. North Carolina residents know that it’s time to fix the system, and want Reps. Etheridge, McIntyre and Kissell to stand up and vote ‘Yes’ on the Affordable Health Care for America Act.