In a ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va., Obama called the legislative package “an important milestone on the road to health insurance reform and higher education reform.”
The package phases out the coverage gap under the Medicare drug program, changes how Medicare Advantage plans are paid, refigures hospital marketbasket reductions, and moves up to 2014 from 2015 the date reductions in disproportionate-share hospital payments start.
The bill also aims to crack down on healthcare fraud and abuse, especially within government-sponsored plans such as Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, the bill delays the implementation of an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans until 2018, adds a new Medicare tax on investment income and generally bars insurers from dropping coverage after a person becomes sick.
A number of changes to the employer and individual mandates penalties are also changed.
The bill was demanded by members of the House, who wanted the changes in return for supporting the Senate's idea of reform.
Obama said the legislation is a “major step forward for giving Americans with insurance and those without a sense of security when it comes to their health.”
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