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Kaine Highlights Benefits Of Affordable Care Act For Women, Announces Support For Legislation To Strengthen Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In remarks on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine discussed the positive impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for millions of women in Virginia and across the country, sharing the stories of three Virginians:

“We have a 27-year-old woman in Charlottesville who was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Before the ACA, her previous insurance plan refused to cover her surgery because cancer was a preexisting condition, but she is now enrolled in a health plan under the ACA and her doctor and hospital where she has planned the surgery were confirmed.”

“In Alexandria, there is a woman who is 43 years old. She suffered a heart attack years ago and had been on an insurance plan that was extremely expensive. With her coverage about to end, she enrolled through the health plan marketplace. She found a plan with a reputable company with a premium of approximately $245 a month with co-pays and deductibles that were easy to understand.”

“Angelette Harrell from Norfolk was able to purchase a plan on the exchange. … She called the phone number and she was able to find a plan that is $85 a month with a tax credit. She works at a care facility for adults with autism, and she said she couldn't afford a plan that would have been $280 a month without the tax credit because she is under 200% of the poverty level, she gets a credit, she gets a plan for $85 a month and that makes her a more reliable employee. She said – quote – ‘it felt great.’”

During his remarks, Kaine also announced his support for legislation that would strengthen the Affordable Care Act, including the “Small Business Tax Credits Accessibility Act” that would increase the number of small businesses who can benefit from a tax credit for providing affordable, quality insurance to their employees, the “Commonsense Reporting Act” that would make compliance easier for businesses, and the “Expanded Consumer Choice Act” (“Copper Plan”) that would create a new tier of coverage to give people shopping for health insurance more options to meet their financial needs.

I think there are a lot of fixes that are still needed in the Affordable Care Act, and frankly in our health care system in general,” said Kaine, a co-sponsor of the three bills. “There is more that we can do to make the ACA work better for women and families. … But repealing the Affordable Care Act, as some colleagues in this body and in the House continue to advocate, would mean turning back on all these advances – letting women be discriminated against because of gender, letting families be turned away because of preexisting conditions.”

“What we need to be doing,” Kaine said in closing, “is embracing the good and embracing the fixes to make it better, and that is what I certainly intend to do working with my colleagues.”