The formal name for Obamacare is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In order to form an opinion on this new healthcare law, it’s important to take a look at just what Obamacare DOES and DOES NOT do.

Basically, the PPACA made new health care rules, with the purpose of making health care more available and affordable for everyone. Despite the noises that critics of the PPACA are making that the new rules take away too many freedoms, the FACTS are still the facts.

And here they are in the order of when each one goes into effect:

Already in effect
• The FDA is now able to approve more generic drugs, which should produce more competition in the market to help drive down prices.

• Under the new law there are increased rebates on drugs that people get through Medicare — so drugs cost less.

• The PPACA has established a non-profit, non-government group that is to study the different kinds of treatments in order to determine what works best and is also the most cost effective.

• Chain restaurants (McDonalds, etc.) now must display calorie counts in all their foods, so we can make good choices.

• There is now a high-risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions.

• There is a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths.

• Health insurance businesses can no longer throw people off of their coverage because they have hit a lifetime limit. If they’ve paid for health insurance, that company cannot then tell the customer that they won’t cover him anymore.

• Young people can continue to be covered on parent’s health insurance until age 26.

• There are no longer any pre-existing conditions for children under the4 age of 19.

• Health insurance companies now have less ability to change the amount that customers have to pay for their health care plans.

• There is a rebate for people in a Medicare Gap to make up for the extra money that they would otherwise have to spend.

• Companies can no longer drop their customers just because they get sick.

• Insurance companies must now tell customers specifically what they’re spending money on, not just claim “administrative fee.”

• Insurers have to have an appeals process for rejected claims.

• New ways to stop fraud are created.

• Medicare extends to smaller hospitals.

• Chronic illnesses for Medicare patients must be more closely monitored, which should reduce the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly.

• There is a new website for insurance and health information:

• A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness.

• Insurance companies now have limits on the percentage of money that they can make as profit, to minimize price-gouging.

• There’s now a limit on what kinds of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription — basically, your insurer isn’t paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover.

• Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms.

Beginning in 8/1/2012
• Any health plans sold after this date must provide preventative care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge. Preventative health care will hold down costs over the long run.

Beginning in 1/1/2013
• If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes go up 0.9%. A change of less than one percent is miniscule, especially when we’re talking about people in the top 5% of earners.

Beginning in 1/1/2014 This is when a lot of the really big changes happen.
• No more pre-existing conditions — at all. People will be charged the same regardless of their medical history.

• No more free-riders — people who can afford health insurance, but do not get it. Free-riders are required to now purchase insurance, and if they do not they will pay a penalty under the IRS rules. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the pre-existing conditions requirement, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can’t just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you’ll have to pay the fee instead.

• Insurers now can’t do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need.

• Make it so more poor people can get Medicaid by making the low-income cut-off higher.

• Small businesses get some tax credits for two years.

• Businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees, or pay a penalty.

• Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers.

• Cuts some Medicare spending.

• Places a $2500 limit on tax-free spending on FSAs (accounts for medical spending). Basically, people using these accounts now have to pay taxes on any money over $2500 they put into them.

• Establishes health insurance exchanges and rebates for the lower and middle-class, basically making it so they have an easier time getting affordable medical coverage.

• Congress and Congressional staff will only be offered the same insurance offered to people in the insurance exchanges, rather than Federal Insurance. Basically, we won’t be footing their health care bills any more than any other American citizen.

• A new tax on pharmaceutical companies.

• A new tax on the purchase of medical devices.

• A new tax on insurance companies based on their market share. Basically, the more of the market they control, the more they’ll get taxed.

• The amount you can deduct from your taxes for medical expenses increases.

Beginning in 1/1/2015
• Doctors’ pay will be determined by the quality of their care, not how many people they treat.

Beginning in 1/1/2017
• If any state can come up with their own plan, one which gives citizens the same level of care at the same price as the PPACA, they can ask the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for permission to do their plan instead of the PPACA. So if they can get the same results without, say, the mandate, they can be allowed to do so. Vermont, for example, has expressed a desire to just go straight to single-payer (in simple terms, everyone is covered, and medical expenses are paid by taxpayers).

Beginning in 2018
• All health care plans must now cover preventative care (not just the new ones).
• A new tax on “Cadillac” health care plans (more expensive plans for rich people who want fancier coverage).

Beginning in 2020
• The elimination of the “Medicare gap.”

That’s it!
• No socialized health care, no death panels, no government take-over of the heath care system — just new rules for insurance companies and a requirement that everyone have insurance.

• All changes are designed to move America from having the most expensive health care system among western nations, with lower positive results, to a more fair and effective system.

Add a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment