What has Been the Effect of Obamacare and What's to Come Under the Law?
The Affordable Health Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, became law in 2010. Has it affected our healthcare? If so, how? And what's to come? Let's determine where we are now compared to how we stood on health insurance in 2010.
Yes, Obamacare has had a big effect on our healthcare. Some of the provisions in effect are:
- Tax credits for small employers helping employees with insurance;
- Insurance companies have been required to give 4 million seniors 50% discounts on name brand prescription drugs to overcome the Medicare problem called the "donut hole;"
- Coverage for young adults has been expanded to permit them to stay on parents' policies until they are 26, long enough to get most through school or other job-training programs;
- Insurance plans for pre-existing conditions have been created; and
- Lifetime limits on insurance coverage have been eliminated. No one has to worry that a catastrophic illness will deprive a family of everything it has in order to get treatment for the sick family member.
All these things happened under the law in 2010.
In January 2011, a provision of the law took effect to rein in health insurance costs. It requires that at least 80% of insurance premium dollars are spent on health care services and health care quality improvement. That's designed to keep the insurance companies from spending our premium dollars to give insurance executives big paychecks. If they do, they have to refund premiums to policyholders like employers and you and me.
Funding for new community health centers has resulted in the treatment of 20 million more citizens in the U.S. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the public's money saved by preventive care and early treatment will save Medicaid several times more than the cost of those centers. I haven't listed what the law mandates for the future, but I'll do that for you soon. Health is our most important asset.