cancer patient Laura Klitzka watches Obama unveil Patients’ Bill of Rights Hobart
Klitzka is the
She said she was pleased to be witness to Obama’s update on the implementation of health-care reform that he signed into law 90 days ago. The new regulations, which Obama calls a Patients’ Bill of Rights, take effect Sept. 23.
"It’s nice to see that finally some changes are going to be made, not just for myself but for everybody," Klitzka said.
One of those new regulations is a ban against health insurance companies imposing a limit on lifetime coverage, a practice Klitzka worried would send her and her family into financial ruin.
Klitzka, 37, was diagnosed two years ago with breast cancer. Since then, she has undergone eight rounds of chemotherapy, 33 rounds of radiation and a double mastectomy, only to see the disease spread to her bones, where it is incurable.
Obama told the audience that Klitzka faced a lifetime cap of $1 million in medical insurance, and she and her husband were worried about losing their home.
"They’re struggling to pay their medical bills," Obama said. "She just wants to make sure that she can spend time focused on being well and not worrying about medical bills. Laura, you’re why we banned those lifetime limits, too."
Klitzka, who was in
"With all of my treatments, I’m close to hitting that cap," she said. "So with that being lifted, it will be an incredible difference."
In addition to the ban on lifetime caps, the Patients’ Bill of Rights would:
Ban exclusions for children based on pre-existing conditions.
Ban arbitrary termination of coverage because of mistakes on an application.
Restrict annual dollar limits on coverage.
Allow patients to choose their own doctors.
Remove barriers to emergency room services.
The regulations, Obama said, are "basic rules of the road that will make
In a conference call with reporters later, Doyle praised the new rules, which he said will have noteworthy impact in
"When you strip away all the political hype that is going on,
Before announcing the new regulations, Obama and Cabinet officials met with insurers from across the nation and urged them to be prudent on rate increases.
"We’re seeing rate increases that, in some cases, far exceed medical inflation," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters. "We want to be sure consumers are protected against excessive rate increases."