On September 22, 2010 I had the incredible good fortune to travel to Washington, DC to to join an informal backyard gathering with President Obama and over a dozen other participants from around the country who will benefit from the new health care protections that went into effect on September 23. We came to share our stories of how the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and its Patient’s Bill of Rights will improve our own and our families’ health as well as the financial well-being of our country’s small businesses. The President spent well over an hour listening to people tell their stories of how the health care reform provisions will improve their lives, sometimes dramatically. I met people who no longer face denial of coverage because they have a pre-existing medical condition or have exceeded their lifetime health insurance limit. In attendance were young people who will continue to be covered by their parent’s insurance policy until they turn 26 and people who will benefit from not having to pay co-pays or deductibles for recommended preventive care.
The significance of the new law for Hawthorne Auto Clinic is that we will be able to continue fully funding our employees’ and their families’ health care coverage. Our company is one of over 4 million small businesses now eligible for the new health care tax credits. Our health care costs for our employees and their families had reached 20% of payroll: an unsustainable burden. The effect of this tax credit for our company will be to return our health care expenses to 2008 levels – a major cost reduction. My visit with President Obama was truly remarkable and I was most impressed with how hard he and his administration have been working to address our health care crisis and make these health insurance reforms a reality.
During our visit the President remarked on the challenge of providing Americans with the information necessary to take advantage of the new health care law. In my research before making this trip I was surprised to learn how few Americans actually know what the ACA provides. Not surprisingly I also learned that the special interests who want to overturn this reform and return control of our health to the insurance companies have outspent, in radio, TV and print advertising, supporters of the Patient’s Bill of Rights by large margins. Though we may not be able to affect the spending ratio of the anti-health reform big insurance companies and their allies, I intend to do my part to help all Americans understand and take advantage of this new health care reform law.
To learn the facts about how the ACA will enable all to take control of their health care needs, access the new law’s details at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ . For a non-partisan evaluation of the ACA, the respected Kaiser Family Foundation Web site has excellent information at http://healthreform.kff.org/. To learn how the ACA can help America’s 4 million small businesses provide health insurance coverage for their employees, check http://mainstreetalliance.org/wordpress/ .
Jim Houser, co-owner Hawthorne Auto Clinic, Inc.