Monday, July 02, 2012

Affordable Health Care Act - aka ObamaCare Part 1

Since I'm an American now and the SCOTUS (Supreme court of the US) upheld the constitutionality of this act I figured I should understand it.  In the past year I've listened to nothing but outrage and dissent about it and how it was going to bankrupt America and basically fuck the whole system up. I thought the latter part of that sentence was amusing since the American health care system is generally f'ed up anyways....  I had also heard that as an employed American working for a midsize company with health care as a benefit this Act would not affect me at all.

So what are the actual facts?  Not the Fox News "facts", not the 7 second Republican sound bite "facts" - the actual, for real facts....

In my research I've discovered this:

  1. Its called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 - ObamaCare was coined as a way to demonize it.
  2. In 2010 as part of the Act - small businesses received tax credits to cover up to 35% of their total employee premium payments. This increases to 50% in 2014 <-- this seems good - health coverage expenses for small businesses is brutal often resulting in those workers not getting any coverage - then going to emergency room for every single thing.
  3. 2010 - Children were allowed to stay on their parents' health insurance until they turn 26 - since unemployment is so high especially of recent graduates, this seems like a good idea.
  4. 2010 -Insurance companies were prohibited from dropping coverage if someone got really sick. They couldn't create lifetime coverage limits. They could no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. The same will apply to adults in 2014. Until then, adults with pre-existing conditions who have been denied coverage will get access to temporary health insurance coverage until the exchanges are set up.  <-- this seems logical.  It was a terrible thing for some big profit insurance company to drop you because you got sick, terrible and very common.
  5. New private plans were required to cover preventive services with no co-payments, and they are exempt from deductibles.   Consumers who applied to new plans have access to an external appeals process if coverage is denied.  - I noticed that we got this benefit on my insurance at work last year.  I didn't realize why, I thought the insurance company was being nice but really, they were required.  Imagine going for a check up and not paying anything!  If you catch a problem early the costs to solve it and the morality rates are way better.  Hmmm another logical point.

    Ok, wow, there are so many things - tomorrow I'll cover the changes in 2011 that took effect.  To me - so far these are not bad things.  I can't really see anything horrible thus far.  You might say, well, how are we supposed to pay for all this?  Well - if you fix people in a doctors office rather then an emergency room, its cheaper.  If you cure someone of stage 1 cancer its cheaper than curing them of stage 3 cancer - called early detection.

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