Facts and Resources

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, health reform legislation that was approved by Congress. 

Click here to read the full text of the health reform legislation, the reconciliation "fix-it" bill, and the cost and deficit reduction estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

Facts about the Senate Health Care Bill

Why do we have to reform our health care system now?

  • Currently health care costs are 17% of our GDP, and are projected to grow to one-third of our GDP by 2040.
  • The primary cause of our deficit is the per-person costs of Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The United States spends twice per-capita on health care than any other developed nation, leaving American businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
  • If we do nothing, health insurance premiums are expected to consume nearly 40% of an average family’s disposable income within the next decade.
  • The growth of health care spending is on an unsustainable course both nationally, and for American businesses and families.
  • It is fiscally irresponsible to do nothing about our current health care costs.

Fact vs. Fiction

Myth: Small businesses will not be able to afford reform and will have to cut jobs.

  • Our current health care system is particularly untenable for small businesses.
  • Small businesses are the only group of people who still pay retail for health insurance.
  • With few employees, they lack the bargaining power of larger firms and pay as much as 18% more for the same health insurance as large companies.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide tax credits to small businesses to help them continue to offer health insurance to their employees, or offer it for the first time.
  • Small businesses will also benefit from the new health insurance exchanges, giving them a place to access quality, affordable health insurance options at large pool rates.
  • Reducing health care spending will help small businesses by increasing employee take-home pay and saving approximately 80,000 jobs in the small business sector by 2019.

Myth: Health reform will cut Medicare benefits to pay for health insurance coverage for other Americans.

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make our entire health care system more efficient, including Medicare.
  • Without health care reform, Medicare will be insolvent by 2017.
  • Medicare subsidizes private insurers with $12 billion in extra payments a year to provide the same services to Medicare beneficiaries. Equalizing these overpayments could save billions of dollars that can be used to improve Medicare for seniors.
  • Reform actually increases benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides seniors with a free annual physicals and free preventive services, as well as decreases the cost of brand-name drugs for seniors in the “donut hole” coverage gap.
  • In fact, the Senate recently voted 100-0 to insert a guarantee in the bill—in clear, straightforward language—that nothing in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act can cut benefits for Medicare beneficiaries.

Myth: Under health care reform federal funds will be used to provide abortions.

  • No federal funds can be used for abortion under either the Senate or House of Representatives health care bill.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upholds current federal law that no federal funds can be used to pay for abortions unless in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother is in danger.
  • The bill requires that insurance plans in the exchange keep private premium dollars and federal subsidies completely separate.

Myth: Health reform will provide benefits to illegal immigrants.

  • No federal funds will go towards providing undocumented individuals insurance benefits in either the Senate or House of Representatives health care bill.
  • Only legal residents of the United States will receive premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Myth: Insurance premiums will go up with health care reform.

  • The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 6 in 10 Americans—most low- and middle-income families— will see cuts in their health insurance premiums with health care reform.
  • A study recently released by an MIT economist concluded that Americans buying individual coverage after health care reform will pay less than they do for today's typical individual market coverage, and would be protected from high out-of-pocket costs.
  • Currently, Americans pay an additional $1,100 a year, on average, in premiums due to the unpaid costs of care for the uninsured. Requiring that every American purchase insurance will eliminate this burden on family budgets.

Myth: Health reform is a “government takeover” of the health care system.

  • Health reform protects existing coverage, and encourages employers to maintain it. It builds on the private insurance market; it doesn’t dismantle it.
  • It provides Americans who are not satisfied with their current coverage increased options to make informed decisions about what type of coverage they need and how much they want to pay for it.
  • The CBO estimates that the number of Americans who have private, commercial insurance will increase under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Myth: Tort reform would save a lot of money in the health care system.

  • Medical malpractice claims represent only one-fifth of one percent of health care costs.
  • 46 states already have some form of medical malpractice laws, and none have lowered health care costs.

The State of Health Care in 2009

During his health care events this summer, Senator Warner began each meeting with a PowerPoint presentation explaining the state of our health care system.  Through the presentation, Senator Warner showed how our current health care system is bankrupting our nation.  You can flip through the presentation below.

Mark Warner: State of Health Care in 2009 by Mark Warner