There is so much controversy and dialogue about the so called Obamacare health plan. I am sure that, like anything there could be good and bad, after all everyone has different needs. This health insurance plan may not meet your needs, HOWEVER ( and yes I HAD to say HOWEVER in all caps) when I think about the Obama Healthcare insurance policy I don’t THINK about the people that already HAVE insurance and needs are not met by their current healthcare insurance. I THINK about the person that is WITHOUT any form of healthcare coverage at ALL, the person that could very well die in the street because they are living without healthcare, the person that is NOT covered by a fancy government funded top line healthcare plan. YUP I said it!
Like I said this insurance plan is NOT for everyone but it IS for those that do NOT have healthcare. I have a need to know what the big hoopla was about, and a few points were brought to my attention that I did not know, although I am online constantly. Well, I was very lucky in my trolling of the Internet to find invaluable content that provides a very easy to understand version of the entire HUGE so-called Obamacare plan which is really called PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. If you click that link you will be able to view the healthcare plan in its entiretly. If you select to view it in its easy to understand format take a look at the quoted information below.
Already in effect:
- It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices) (  Citation: An entire section of the bill, called Title VII, is devoted to this, starting on page 747 )
- It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare (so drugs cost less) (  Citation: Page 216, sec. 2501
- It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn’t directly control,  PCORI, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money. (  Citation: Page 665, sec. 1181 )
- It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy. (  Citation: Page 499, sec. 4205 )
- It makes a “high-risk pool” for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of “pre-existing conditions” altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered “pre-existing conditions” can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them. (  Citation: Page 30, sec. 1101, Page 45, sec. 2704, and Page 46, sec. 2702 )
- It forbids insurance companies from discriminating based on a disability, or because they were the victim of domestic abuse in the past (yes, insurers really did deny coverage for that) (  Citation: Page 47, sec. 2705 )
- It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.
- It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths. (  Citation: Page 923, sec. 5000B )
- It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won’t get any more coverage because they have hit a “lifetime limit”. Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance, that company can’t tell that person that he’s used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won’t cover him any more. They can’t do this for lifetime spending, and they’re limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending. (  Citation: Page 14, sec. 2711 )
- Kids can continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26. (  Citation: Page 15, sec. 2714 )
- No more “pre-existing conditions” for kids under the age of 19. (  Citation: Page 45, sec. 2704 and Page 57, sec. 1255 )
- Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans. (  Citation: Page 47, sec. 2794 )
- People in a “Medicare Gap” get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend. (  Citation: Page 379, sec. 3301 )
- Insurers can’t just drop customers once they get sick. (  Citation: Page 14, sec. 2712 )
- Insurers have to tell customers what they’re spending money on. (Instead of just “administrative fee”, they have to be more specific).
- Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they’re turned down. (  Citation: Page 23, sec. 2719)
- Anti-fraud funding is increased and new ways to stop fraud are created. (  Citation: Page 699, sec. 6402 )
- Medicare extends to smaller hospitals. (  Citation: Starting on page 344, the entire section “Part II” seems to deal with this )
- Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.
- Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly. (  Citation: Page 492, sec. 4202 )
- A new website is made to give people insurance and health information. (I think this is it: http://www.healthcare.gov/ ). (  Citation: Page 36, sec. 1103 )
- A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness by paying half the cost of the investment. (Note – this program was temporary. It already ended) ( Citation: Page 830, sec. 9023 )
- A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they’re not price-gouging customers. (  Citation: Page 22, sec. 1101 )
- A limit is placed on what type 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. (  Citation: Page 800, sec. 9003 )
- Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms. (  Citation: Page 800, sec. 9002 )
- Any new health plans must provide preventive care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge. (  Citation: Page 14, sec. 2713 )
- If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes go up a tiny bit (0.9%). Edit: To address those who take issue with the word “tiny”, a change of 0.9% is relatively tiny. Any look at how taxes have fluctuated over the years will reveal that a change of less than one percent is miniscule, especiallywhen we’re talking about people in the top 5% of earners. (  Citation: Page 818, sec. 9015 )
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. (  Citation: Page 45, sec. 2704, Page 46, sec. 2701, and Page 57, sec. 1255 )
- If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the “mandate” that people are talking about. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the “pre-existing conditions” bit, 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, unless of course you’re not buying insurance because you just can’t afford it. (Note: On 6/28/12, the Supreme Court ruled that this isConstitutional, as long as it’s considered a tax on the uninsured and not a penalty for not buying insurance… nitpicking about wording, mostly, but the long and short of it is, it looks like this is accepted by the courts) (  Citation: Page 145, sec. 5000A, and  here is the actual court ruling for those who wish to read it. )
Question: What determines whether or not I can afford the mandate? Will I be forced to pay for insurance I can’t afford?
Answer: There are all kinds of checks in place to keep you from getting screwed. Kaiser actually has a webpage with a pretty good rundown on it, if you’re worried about it. You can see it  here.
Okay, have we got that settled? Okay, moving on…
- Medicaid can now be used by everyone up to 133% of the poverty line (basically, a lot more poor people can get insurance) (  Citation: Page 179, sec. 2001 )
- Small businesses get some tax credits for two years. (It looks like this is specifically for businesses with 25 or fewer employees) (  Citation: Page 138, sec. 1421 )
- Businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees, or pay a penalty.
- Insurers now can’t do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need. (  Citation: Page 14, sec. 2711 )
- Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers. (  Citation: Page 62, sec. 1302 )
- Cut some Medicare spending
- Place 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. ( Citation: Page 801, sec. 9005 )
- Establish health insurance exchanges and rebates for the lower and middle-class, basically making it so they have an easier time getting affordable medical coverage. (  Citation: Page 88, sec. 1311 )
- 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. (  Citation: Page 81, sec. 1312 )
- 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.
- Doctors’ pay will be determined by the quality of their care, not how many people they treat. Edit: a_real_MD addresses questions regarding this one in far more detail and with far more expertise than I can offer in  this post. If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation of this one (as many of you are), I highly recommend you give his post a read.
- 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). (Citation: Page 98, sec. 1332 )
- All health care plans must now cover preventive care (not just the new ones).
- A new tax on “Cadillac” health care plans (more expensive plans for rich people who want fancier coverage).
- The elimination of the “Medicare gap”
If you would see the entire post, It can be view on Political Irony’s Website.
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