New Health Care Law Debated at Virginia Beach forum
Ray Nations’ question Saturday morning to a congressman opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and an Obama administration official promoting it, highlighted a central disagreement over the health care law.
Nations said it made no sense for the law to require all insurance plans to provide the same 10 “essential” services.
“I’m 60 years old. Why do I need maternity care?” asked Nations, who operates a Hampton tax preparation business. “I lost my insurance in September because it does not meet the 10 essential requirements.”
Drawing applause at the Medicare Health Fair and Expo at the city’s convention center, Nations also alluded to President Barack Obama repeatedly stating that no one who liked his or her health care plan would have to change it.
Obama has admitted he was wrong and announced Thursday that insurance companies should be allowed to keep intact for one year the nonconforming policies for more than 4.2 million people that would be illegal when the law takes effect in 2014. The House passed legislation Friday that would expand that exemption to also allow insurers to continue selling those plans.
“I do understand this is frustrating for a lot of folks,” said Dr. Matt Heinz of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, who is responsible for educating doctors and other health care professionals about the law.
“The 10 essential benefits are there to protect everyone. That is something you really have to look at in context,” Heinz said.
“At this point, obviously you won’t need maternity care,” he told Nations. But a 23-year-old woman would need that coverage, and she might not need other essentials that could apply to older people, such as pills for high blood pressure, he said.