It has been the cornerstone of President Obama’s presidency. He is expected to sign the bill into law today, March 23, 2010 at 11:15 a.m. EST. Much of America has watched with keen interest, but perhaps those of us with Epilepsy…and those who are caregivers to someone living with Epilepsy, have an even greater interest.
I listened to David Axelrod speak on NBC’s Today Show this morning. The President’s Senior Advisor spoke of how the bill will help all Americans, particularly those who have had trouble getting health care in the past. But what does it mean to those of us who live with a neurological disease like Epilepsy?
The House passed both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which had passed the Senate in December 2009, and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, which includes changes to the Senate-passed bill.
The health care overhaul package is a complex bill that will impact all of us in America. There are many organizations, including the Epilepsy Foundation of America, who contributed principles and ideas to the bill. The Epilepsy Foundation and those members of the National Health Council (NHC) of which the Foundation is a member, are all addressed in this legislation.
Here are some of the highlights for those of us with Epilepsy:
-The new law will eliminate lifetime caps on benefits for all insurance plans 6 months after enactment of the bill
-The new law will eliminate annual caps on benefits for individual and group plans in 2014
-The new law will close the Medicare Part D donut hole by 2020 and provide a $250 rebate for all Medicare Part D enrollees who enter the donut hole in 2010.
-The bill also prohibits insurers from establishing eligibility rules based on health status, medical condition (mental or physical illness or disability), claims experience, receipt of healthcare, medical history, genetic information, evidence of insurability, or disability
The plan as it stands now if for President Obama to sign the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this morning. The Reconciliation Act of 2010 will move to the Senate for approval.
Simply put, the legislation will make it much easier for those with Epilepsy to receive the health care and treatment they need. There are countless stories of people with Epilepsy not visiting with a neurologist or an epileptologist because they simply don’t have coverage. When it comes to medication…vital to those of us with Epilepsy…there are people who don’t have coverage who take it upon themselves to ease back on the dosage or to simply stop taking their anti-seizure medications because they can’t afford to pay for it. Obviously, we are not completely in the clear yet, but it seems we are so close.