Democratic lawmakers praise new prevention guidelines

Democratic leaders who helped usher through the healthcare reform law praised the new regulations on Wednesday mandating that new health plans cover preventive services for free.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the regulations mark “another step forward in our effort to fulfill the fundamental goals of health insurance reform: providing access to affordable care for all Americans and ensuring the health and well-being of every family. With this change, prevention coverage will improve for as many as 41 million Americans next year and as many as 88 million Americans by 2013.”

Pelosi took aim at Republicans who want to repeal the law, saying they want to “protect the special interests and insurance companies, and say ‘no’ to progress at every turn.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is in a tough reelection race, focused on the benefits to his constituents.

“Too many people in Nevada and across the nation do not receive the basic preventive care they need to stay healthy and avoid preventable diseases because of burdensome costs,” Reid said. “Because of these prohibitive costs, Americans use preventive services at about half the recommended rate. That sad reality of our old health care system ends with these new rules requiring new plans to cover preventive services like blood pressure readings, cholesterol tests, routine vaccinations, flu shots and regular check-ups for babies and children without charging a deductible, co-payment, or co-insurance.”

And Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said “health care reform truly makes prevention a critical foundation of our health care system and our lives.”

“Each of us knows how vital preventive services such as cancer screenings, vaccinations and flu shots are for our own health and the health of our families and communities,” he said. “Health care reform gives all Americans the peace of mind of knowing they have access to a plan that covers these critical preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.”