The one-year anniversary of the passage of the federal health care reform law is Wednesday, and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a key proponent of the law, held an event in Des Moines to mark the anniversary. Harkin, a Democrat, is critical of those who’re trying to repeal the act.
“I’m not saying that the Affordable Care Act can never be changed or modified, of course it can be improved, and there may be things that we want to do in the future,” Harkin says. He says as long as he is a U-S senator, he will continue to fight for a public option for the country. Many polls show a majority of Americans do not support the plan, but Harkin says that will change as more provisions get implemented.
Harkin says as the months go by and more and more people know what is in the bill, it is becoming more widely accepted around the country. Harkin says there are many provisions, such as children staying on their parent’s policies, the feature on pre-exisiting conditions, and the fact that you can’t be cut off from your insurance plan if you get sick are just starting to become known.
Harkin says those who’re against the bill determined they didn’t want to see it succeed and are doing anything they can to repeal it. But he said again that he thinks the plan will continue to gain support. Harkin says as people find out more about the bill, they are not going to “let the hard fought, hard won victories be taken away from them.”
The event included a 23-year-old Des Moines woman, Jessica Urban, who said she had trouble finding her own insurance on the $200 stipend her employer provided. Urban says the policy that she did find had a $35 co-pay, a tiered prescription plan, not lab plan, and was “very, very disappointing.” Urban says the new law allowed her to go onto her father’s insurance plan.
Her father is a postal worker who she says already paid a little higher premium to have her mother on his plan and now she is on his plan for no extra cost to him. Harkin says under the new law, over 51,000 Iowa small businesses are projected to be eligible for tax credits this year that cover up to 35% of insurance costs for their employees.
He says the plan provides $40-billion in small business tax credits from 2010 to 2019 to help businesses offset the costs of purchasing coverage for their employees and to make premiums more affordable. Harkin was on hand in Washington when President Obama signed the reform plan signed into law on March 23rd of 2010.