The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 was a landmark piece of legislation, and while it wasn’t perfect, it’s been a huge win for Washington families and taxpayers. Funding from the bill made nearly 92,500 Washington small businesses eligible for tax credits to help pay health care premiums and provisions authored by Maria are helping to sustain Washington’s Basic Health Plan. Over 62,000 Washington seniors received $250 rebates in 2011 to help cover the high costs of prescription drugs and as the provisions of this law kick in seniors will no longer have to worry about Medicare’s prescription drug “doughnut hole.” Plus, thousands of Washington families can now keep their children up to the age of 26 on their insurance plans. It’s helping lower premiums for Washington families and ensuring insurance companies aren’t discriminating based on pre-existing conditions.
Maria worked hard to pass health care reform and she’s working just as hard to improve it. She voted to eliminate a burdensome 1099 tax requirement that would have swamped small businesses with paperwork. She’s leading a bipartisan group of senators to ensure doctor documentation requirements within the health care reform law don’t have a negative impact on home health care for rural and underserved areas.
Maria has been a constant proponent for increases in funding to Indian health programs and clinics. In 2010, she fought for passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, marking the first comprehensive health care bill for tribes in ten years. This bill is modernizing the Indian health care system for 1.9 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives by improving programs for long term care, suicide prevention, and mental health.
Washington has long been a leader in health information technology, and recognized its potential to lower costs, improve quality and create jobs. Those benefits aren’t lost on Maria. She continues to promote health IT throughout the state to ensure all Washington communities reap its benefits.
Washington’s health care professionals and providers are among the best in the nation when it comes to delivering quality care affordably. It’s important it stays that way, and that’s why Maria has fought to make education affordable for Washington’s future health care professionals and ensure there are quality health care jobs throughout the state.
In the Senate, Maria’s been a champion of women’s health care and she’s fought to expand coverage for all Washingtonians. Her work to end unfair penalties for Washington in the federal government’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program resulted in an additional $50 million for children’s health care in the state.
As one of the most beautiful states in the union–and one of the richest in natural resources–Washington has a special interest in energy and environmental policy. And Maria has fought hard to uphold the state’s conservation tradition, while also working to bring our energy policy into the 21st century.
Maria knows Washington’s business community – because, as an executive at an innovative software company, she was part of it. And as a Senator, she’s led the way in helping businesses large and small throughout Washington grow, thrive, and create jobs.
Maria has taken a leadership role on safety and security issues, including defending our borders, strengthening our military, cracking down on gangs, and taking on drug crime in Washington communities.
Middle-class families around Washington and across the country are facing tough times–and tough decisions about balancing the family checkbook each month. Maria has fought to strengthen the economic security of Washington families and cut taxes for middle-class families.