Now that Obamacare has officially been announced as constitutional by the US Supreme Court, the question that lingers on everyone’s mind is what is Obamacare exactly, and more to the point, how does it effect me?
What is Obamacare: PPACA
What has been deemed the term Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 is a United States federal statute. According to Wikipedia, the PPACA is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress and requires individuals not covered by employer or government-sponsored insurance plans to maintain minimal health insurance coverage or pay a penalty unless exempted for religious beliefs or financial hardship, a provision commonly referred to as the individual mandate.
In addition to the individual mandate, the Act also reforms aspects of the private health insurance industry and public health insurance programs by increasing insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions and expanding access to insurance to an additional 30 million Americans. Moreover, the Act increases projected national medical spending while reducing the national deficit, slowing health care cost inflation and lowering projected Medicare spending.
How does Obamacare Effect you: More Healthcare Coverage
Now that the question of what is Obamacare is answered, the more prudent question is how does it effect the American people. The Act’s main focus is to help the over 30 million American’s currently without any health coverage, who are then forced to use emergency rooms as their main service, creating higher costs for everyone. For those who do not have the means to afford health insurance, the Federal government will expand Medicaid coverage by paying the states. Those who do not qualify for the expanded Medicaid will have the option of insurance exchanges by their state so they can afford private health care coverage.
One of the biggest provisions in the act states that health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and can no longer drop anyone from coverage once they become ill. Parents can also add their children to their coverage up until the age of 26-years-old.
Another key provision in the PPACA is Obamacare does not apply to businesses with less than 50 employees. Moreover, although larger businesses are required to offer health insurance, they will receive tax credits to help employees pay premiums with the tax credit increased to 50 percent by 2014.
According to the CBO Report on Health Care Reform and the Budget, Obamacare will lower the budget deficit by $143 billion for the next 10 years by raising some taxes and shifting more cost burdens.
While most of the provisions of Obamacare will not take place until 2014, the US Supreme Court’s decision of the PPACA being constitutional is seen as a huge victory for president Barack Obama and his supporters.
What is Obamacare – photo by seiu.org.