The Patient and Protection Affordable Care Act of 2010 also known as The Affordable Care Act also known as “Obama Care” has garnered a lot of attention over the past few years. What is Obama Care, and why did it caused so much animosity that it forced our country into a government shutdown for nearly 3 weeks and to brink of defaulting on its loans? The PPACA or ACA or Obama Care is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, it represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the country’s healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 (Wikipedia). 60 Senators voted to pass the legislation on Christmas Eve in 2009, verses 39 Senators that voted against it. 219 Members of the House of Representatives voted for the Act while 212 decided that it was a bad idea and voted against it. It passed by the narrowest of margins and became a law on March 23, 2010. On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate in the case of National Federation of Independent Business (not businesses) v. Sebelius (Kathleen Sebelius is the Secretary of Health and Human Services). It has become our 44th President’s signature accomplishment. In addition to what the President and other leaders within the Democratic party thought was best for our country, it is widely believed that he has been so insistent on this legislation because his mother received an unfortunate amount grief from her insurance company during the final days of her life. She died after a lengthy battle with ovarian and uterine cancer. It was the driving force behind his campaign for election and also the driving force behind his re-election campaign. It has become very clear that making health care affordable to all Americans is very personal to our President.
Fact vs. Fiction
- There is an individual mandate which makes it mandatory for each United States citizen to have health insurance by March 31st or face a penalty.
- Businesses with 50 employees or more will be mandated to offer insurance to each employee after 2014.
- Individuals who earn $15,856 or less as well as legal aliens that hold green cards are still mandated to get health insurance and can receive help in California under Medi-Cal.
- Individuals that are unemployed are exempt from the federal mandate.
- Business owners with 50 or more employees can place half of them on a part time basis and not have to worry about penalties.
- Legal aliens are exempt and do not have to get health insurance especially if they don’t make a lot of money.
In my humble opinion, I am glad that we have the ACA. I’ve been watching this battle play out since Hillary Clinton spearheaded the Health Security Act in 1993. Unfortunately, the Republicans and health insurance companies poured billions of dollars into smear campaigns that led to the demise of the bill which would have brought about “universal” health care for Americans. As an insurance salesman, I praise God for this legislation (the ACA) and the efforts of Democrats and Republicans (yes, there are a few) who championed this initiative. Here’s why.
Rules of the health care industry in 2007 when I got my insurance license:
- Insurance companies had mandatory maximums on insurance coverage. Once a patient’s cost went beyond that maximum coverage (typically $2 – 5 million), their coverage was terminated.
- Insurance companies were able to go back as far as a patient’s initial enrollment, even over multiple decades, and claim inaccuracies as a reason to terminate coverage. This typically happened when there was an onset of a dangerous and/or incurable costly disease in which medicine could temporarily prolong the life of the individual costing the insurance company hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars.
- Maternity care for individuals was too expensive for most women unless it was within a group plan. The expense was typically 3 times the cost of her male counterparts of the same age. Many companies would not offer it unless it was part of a group plan.
- Children could and were denied coverage because of birth defects and pre-existing conditions.
- Millions of Americans died due to lack of adequate health care coverage.
As of 2013, there are still 5 million Californians without health insurance, and an estimated 47 million Americans without health insurance. I have personally met at least a dozen full time employees, over the years of being licensed, that could not afford health insurance, and at least three women who have had medical bills of $20,000 – $100,000 as result of being injured while uninsured. Up until the financial collapse of 2008, medical costs were the leading cause of bankruptcies. So, one has to ask themself why so many people would be against mandated AFFORDABLE health care (notice the word all caps). So, what “Obama care” means to you is affordable healthcare with no maximums, no denials for pre-existing conditions, and maternity care. This is why you need Obama Care!
For the facts, go to Covered California: https://www.coveredca.com/
Bison Business & Technology Solutions
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