Living Withouts News Brief: Historic Health Care Bill and Celiac Disease
Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. This historical legislation will significantly reform the nation’s health care system. There is considerable controversy surrounding the legislation, with critics citing its cost to taxpayers and concerns about the expanded role of government in administering it. There is also significant criticism about the procedural tactics used by Congressional Democrats to pass the bill.
Controversy and politics aside, Living Without talked with attorney Andrea Levario, executive director of American Celiac Disease Alliance, about the impact of this legislation on people with celiac disease.
Living Without: Generally speaking, what does this new law mean to the celiac community?
Andrea Levario: There is no question that this law will have a profound effect on the millions of Americans with chronic medical conditions like celiac disease. It puts an end to the practice of denying health insurance to individuals who have celiac disease, high blood pressure, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
LW: Can you give a quick summary of how health care is going to change?
Levario: Within the next year, health insurers will not be able to deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions. Young adults will be able to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26. Existing health insurance plans will be barred from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel insurance retroactively unless there is proof of fraud. All new insurance plans will be required to cover preventive care.
In addition, a temporary high-risk pool will be created for adults with pre-existing conditions, like celiac disease, so they can obtain insurance coverage.
Once all the reforms are fully implemented, it is estimated that an additional 31 million Americans will have health insurance. The number of uninsured is estimated to be 46 million.
LW: What about serious food allergies and anaphylaxis? Does the law cover these conditions?
Levario: Having food allergies would be considered a preexisting condition, as would anaphylaxis. Persons won’t be denied insurance because they have such conditions.
LW: Because of Congressional procedures, the law is being “fixed.” What does that mean?
Levario: Additional reforms have been included in a reconciliation package, H.R.
4872, which was cleared by Congress yesterday, March 25, and will be signed into law by the President in the next couple days.