Making Democracy Work

Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform

The material below is a little out dated. For more up to date information on Health Care Reform go to the the League of Women Voters of California's Health Care Reform web page:


Everyone is unhappy about health care, particularly health care costs, but not everyone realizes that a national health care reform bill is law, or what is in it. Research shows that many Americans don't even know that a reform bill has passed. Start by informing yourself about what is--and is not--in the bill, and then make it a point to talk to your friends and neighbors.

Some of what is included in the landmark Affordable Care Act:

  • a guarantee that insurance companies can no longer discriminate based on pre-existing conditions

  • an end to lifetime caps

  • a requirement that insurance companies can no longer can drop people when they get sick.

In addition, the bill:

  • gives tax credits to small businesses for providing coverage for employees

  • requires insurers to cover preventive care at no cost.

There is misinformation being circulated about the bill's effects on Medicare. Don't let the naysayers scare seniors!

  • Medicare is actually being improved and strengthened.

  • The Affordable Care Act attacks waste and fraud.

  • The bill adds benefits for those on Medicare:

o helps seniors stay in their homes

o bans discrimination based on pre-existing conditions

o provides preventive care with no co-pays.

Yes, there are taxes--but only for those with incomes over $200,000-$250,000. These taxes will provide for the largest investment in the health care workforce ever made. There is a huge need for primary health care providers, and the Affordable Care Act will help fill the gap by investing in education and training, and providing incentives for these desperately needed caregivers.

Finally, for those who advocate repealing the act: this is an even more costly choice than enacting it! Repealing the act would cost an estimated $455 billion.

What about California? California is on the forefront of federal health care reform. This fall, the governor signed two bills creating the California Health Benefit Exchange. There are a number of challenges on the road to an operational exchange by 2014; the League will be active both in advocacy and community education. If you are interested in working on this issue, contact Helen Hutchison,

Sign up for action alerts on the LWVC Web site. Go to and click on "Sign up for E-News" at the upper left. On the sign-up page, choose "Action Alerts."

Do you want to know more? Here are sites where you can find good information: