11 Simple Facts about Affordable Care Act
ObamaCares -- In A Nutshell
The 2010 Health Care Reform law is the most significant piece of social legislation since the passage of Medicare in 1965. How does it work? How does it impact the average person?
1. Obama Care will ultimately insure an additional 30 million people or up to 95% of the population.
2. Beginning in 2014, consumers who don't have insurance are required to purchase health insurance. If you already have insurance through your employer, Medicare, Medicaid, a government retirement program or the Veterans Administration, this requirement won't affect you.
3. What this means is that only 6% of the U.S. population today will have to go out and purchase health insurance because of the individual mandate or face a penalty. People who can't afford to purchase health insurance will receive financial help from the government to buy policies. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that only 1.2% of the population will have to pay the penalty for failure to purchase health insurance.
4. Most of the health care reform law will be implemented in 2014, but the law already provides some benefits. Seniors are already saving hundreds of dollars per year on their prescription drug costs.
6.6 million young adults have insurance coverage because Obama Care allows children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents' plan. 50,000 people with pre-existing conditions already have coverage. Later this year, consumers will receive $1.2 billion in rebate checks from the insurance industry. The Republicans want to take away all of these benefits.
5. Beginning in 2014, all pre-existing conditions clauses will be banned. The insurance industry will no longer be able to cancel your policy if you get sick. The law will end arbitrary lifetime limits on coverage found in many policies.
6. Millions of small businesses are already eligible for a tax credit to help pay for their health care premiums. The credit will increase to cover 50 percent of premium costs in 2014. The Republicans in their zeal to repeal Obama Care want to take this away and raise taxes on small businesses.
7. Obama Care will expand States' Medicaid programs. Under the law, the U.S. government will cover 100% of the cost for states to expand their Medicaid programs, scaling that back to 90% by 2020.
(Currently, the U.S. government pays an average of 57% of the cost of the Medicaid health program.)
8. Businesses and individuals will purchase insurance through exchanges that will be a market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that's best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can. The exchanges will give individuals and small businesses the bargaining power and choices that large businesses currently have.
9. The law allows health insurance policies to be sold across state lines when both states agree and consumer protections are maintained. (The Republicans favor the sale of insurance across state lines without any consumer protections.) Without the consumer protections included in Obama Care, there would be a race to the bottom in which insurers would have an incentive to sell plans from the state with fewest consumer protections.
10. There are no $500 billion in Medicare "cuts" in Obama Care. The law does not take $500 billion out of the current Medicare budget. Rather, the bill attempts to slow the program's future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in future spending increases over the next 10 years. Moreover, many of the "cuts" are in the Medicare Advantage program - which is an insurance industry boondoggle. As a matter of fact, Medicare spending will still increase.
11. There are no death panels.
Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.