The Issues

Promoting Access to Healthcare

Congressman Ruppersberger supported the health reform legislation that recently passed Congress and was signed by the President. H.R. 3962, the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010, will make health care more affordable while reducing the federal budget by over $100 billion over the next ten years. The bill is not perfect, but it is a big step forward to making health care more affordable and accessible for All Americans.

The legislation:

  • Prohibits annual and lifetime caps on coverage
  • Prevents insurance companies from dropping you when you get sick
  • Bans companies from denying you coverage for a so-called “pre-existing condition”
  • Reduces the cost of preventative care

If you have insurance and you like your coverage, nothing will change. In fact, things will get better. The legislation has great benefits for seniors, young people, and small business – just to name a few.


For seniors, the legislation improves Medicare. It provides free preventative and wellness care, improves primary care, and enhances nursing home care. It also closes the donut hole that seniors pay for prescription drugs. It allows for a $250 rebate in 2010, a 50% discount on prescription drugs in 2011, and a complete elimination of the donut hole in ten years. Seniors are the backbone of our country. We must do everything we can to ensure they live their golden years happy and healthy.

Young Adults

For young adults, the legislation allows them to stay on their parents’ policy until they turn 26 years old.

Small Business

Small businesses with 100 employees or less will be able to join a health insurance exchange to get group rates and a greater choice of insurers. Small businesses with 25 employees and average wages of less than $50,000 will qualify for a 50% tax credit to cover the cost of health insurance.

According to the Small Business Administration, Maryland is home to over 477,000 small businesses. Small businesses employ over a million people across the state. Since these businesses are such vital economic engines I thought it was critically important to give these businesses access to high quality, affordable health insurance in a way that does not stifle innovation or force them to lay off workers.

Tax Credits

If you can’t afford insurance and you would like to purchase it, there are tax cuts available to make it affordable. For example, a family of four making $50,000 a year, can get a tax cut of up to $5,800 a year to buy health insurance.

Community Health Centers

There are nine community health centers in my District that provide care to the poor and medically underserved. This legislation provides about $11 million for these centers to help keep people healthy.

Why Reform?

I believe we needed to act because health care costs were getting out of control. If we did nothing, health insurance premiums would continue to go up.

Over the past ten years, health insurance premiums have risen an average of 131% while wages have only gone up 26%. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average American family pays more than $13,000 a year in premiums for health insurance. If nothing changes, the average family will pay an estimated $25,000 a year in ten years.

Before we passed this bill, 47 million Americans did not have health insurance – 800,000 of those of people live in Maryland. 75,000 reside right here in the Maryland 2nd District.

People say they don’t want to pay for other people’s health care, but they already do. Right now, families pay a “hidden tax” of nearly $1,100 per year in the form of a higher premium to provide care for the uninsured and underinsured.

Congressman Ruppersberger would like to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health care and the medical industry has the flexibility to grow and innovate.