US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Statement on White House Health Care Announcement

Thursday, November 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement in response to the President’s announcement that Americans may keep their current plans for one year without penalty. 

“If it had been up to me, I am not certain I would have made this decision, but the President felt it was important to do.  My hope, however, is that everyone who has received a cancellation notice will fully and carefully consider their options.  In the vast majority of cases, they will find that the coverage that they were paying good money for is not worth the paper it was printed on.  It will not cover them if they are hospitalized, if they need expensive prescription drugs to treat an illness or a chronic condition, or if they have a pre-existing condition.  If they go to the marketplace, however, they can get quality coverage – in some cases paying a little more, perhaps, but getting many more benefits.  In many cases, they may pay less, particularly with the subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act

“I recently heard from an Iowan in Salix.  Her son’s policy was cancelled.  When they read the fine print, however, they were shocked to learn that he had been paying $200 a month for two years on a policy that covered no preventive care, no prescription drugs and only $600 of a hospital visit.  Under the Affordable Care Act, he will now pay $125 a month and has an 80/20 policy.

“In the coming months, we will hear from even more Americans – like the stories I am hearing from Iowans – who are taking advantage of this coverage.”

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