The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Obamacare Turns 3

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In March of this year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will turn three years old. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed a sweeping set of health care reforms into law. It was a historic moment in our nation’s history. Barack Obama was the first American president that was able to deliver a comprehensive health reform. This was a goal which eluded his predecessors. Since its enactment, it has been highly debated and challenged in the courts.

Last year, in a 5-4 ruling, the United State Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s signature legislation, The Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice John Roberts provided the critical swing vote in this ruling. We all deserve high-quality health care that we can all afford, and today brings this goal to reality.

The United State Supreme Court’s ruling means that:

Children will no longer be denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, effective immediately.

Young adults can stay on their parent’s health insurance policy until age 26.

Adults will no longer be denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, effective in 2014.

Health insurance providers can no longer cancel your policy because you get sick.

Creates state-based marketplaces where people can easily compare and shop for insurance beginning in 2014.

Prevents insurance companies from charging women more than men and overcharging those who need care the most.

Gives hard-working Americans tax credits so they can afford insurance beginning in 2014.

Provides Americans with rebates from insurers who spend too much on CEO bonuses or advertisements.

Ends insurance company power to raise rates without justification.

There can no longer be annual limits to health coverage. If your illness is incredibly expensive, you will no longer have to worry about reaching a limit to what your insurance company will pay.

Is there a need for the 2010 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hereinafter “Affordable Care Act”)? Let’s look at the number of uninsured in America. This nation’s deep economic recession and resulting decline in employer sponsored coverage contributed to a rise in the uninsured in recent years. Research indicates that these factors left fifty (50) million Americans without coverage in 2009.

While public insurance programs prevented some individuals from losing health insurance coverage, these programs do not reach all of those who cannot afford insurance. With that understanding, the Affordable Care Act seeks to address the gaps in our private-public insurance system. This new law requires most Americans to have health insurance and many will gain coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility and subsidized private coverage for individuals with incomes up to four hundred (400) percent of poverty starting in 2014.

The United States Supreme Court’s ruling in this case was a victory for Americans concerned about access to healthcare for all. As stated in an article in Mother Jones, “The largest expansion of the American welfare state since the Great Society stands, upheld by the most conservative Supreme Court in decades. Yet the decision is not simply a landmark ruling, it is a monumental setback for a conservative movement strategy meant to sabotage, by all available means, the presidency of Barack Obama.”

Sources: The White House. CBS News. Chicago Sun-Times.;;;; The Kaiser Family Foundation, “Focus on Health Reform.” “Obamacare Lives: What Next?” by Adam Serwer, Mother Jones, June 29th, 2012.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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