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Happy holidays to you

By Ron Pollack,


If we had to describe this year in one word, it would be “historic.”

Although we had some bumps along the way, Congress finally stood up for the American people and passed the Affordable Care Act. The law expands health care to millions of Americans who have been left without coverage and will offer a host of new consumer protections that ensure you get the best bang for your health care dollar.

Millions of Americans have already been affected by the new law. And since it’s the season of giving, we’d like to highlight the gifts Americans across the country have received, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

For starters, consumers received the gift of extra consumer protections. Earlier this month, consumers were saved from a giant rate hike thanks to the Affordable Care Act. In Connecticut, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed a 20 percent rate hike for individuals and families who purchase their coverage in the individual market. After regulators analyzed the hike, they came to the conclusion that a hike that big was unnecessary and excessive. It was rejected and hardworking people in Connecticut were spared a massive hike—which is so critical for families who are strapped for cash.

Consumers across the country were also given the gift of transparency. Now more of every single premium dollar you spend must go toward actual health care. In the past, some insurers spent as little as 60 cents of every dollar on health care. The rest of the money went to things like overhead, administrative tasks and profits. Now you know that when you pay for premiums, it won’t go towards padding the pockets of CEOs.

Parents received the gift of stability this year. Now, no child can be denied insurance because they were born with asthma or because they’re a survivor of leukemia. And parents now have the option to keep their kids on their insurance plan up to age 26. For recent graduates who can’t find jobs during the recession, or whose employer doesn’t provide benefit, this option is invaluable.

This year Americans received a gift that will be talked about for years to come: A level playing field. Insurance companies no longer have a leg up on consumers. They can’t take away coverage when you get sick, ask you to pay two times more because you have allergies, or tell you that you’ve reached your limit and they won’t pay any more of your hospital bills.

Americans have a lot to celebrate this holiday season —and that’s thanks to activists like YOU.

So thank you for helping us fight so hard for every American’s right to access affordable health care. We look forward to working with you to defend these consumer protections in the New Year and beyond.