Senate Bill 738 Passes

I am proud that my bill to protect the Affordable Care Act, S0738, passed last week.

Below are the comments I made on the floor prior to the vote.

“This the third year that I have proposed legislation that would codify much of the insurance protections and standards created by the Affordable Care Act. This year, the legislation has 26 co-sponsors, a testament to the statewide importance of maintaining access to affordable high quality health coverage. Due to the existence of the ACA, nearly 97% of Rhode Island residents are now insured. Without the ACA, many of these residents would not be able to access a high standard of health insurance, or they would be priced out of care due to gender, preexisting conditions, or other factors that we are now safeguarded against.

This legislation:

• Prohibits annual limits and lifetime dollar caps on coverage for essential benefits

• Requires that insurers keep their administrative costs in check

• Guarantees that dependents up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s plan

• Guarantees protections against pre-existing condition exclusions

• Requires essential benefits coverage that must be included at every tier of coverage, such as including preventive services, maternity care, hospitalization, mental health services and prescription drug coverage

• Guarantees coverage of preventive services without any patient cost sharing

• Guarantees issue and renewal so no one can be denied a policy, even if sick

• Allows discounts for wellness programs

• Allows insurance premium rates to vary only by age (not gender or health Status )

• And Sets out of pocket limits

As Rhode Islanders, we have watched as government leaders in Washington threaten to erode many of our most important rights, privileges, and protections for immigrants and refugees, our environment, workers rights, women’s reproductive rights, and protections against banking fraud and exploitation. And that was just last week.

So, today, we have the opportunity to protect the most important components of the ACA by preserving them in Rhode Island law.

I feel we do have an obligation to protect Rhode Islanders from the erratic, irrational and dangerous efforts of our federal leadership.

Therefore, I move passage of S738subA.”