Health care has been a pot of hot water waiting contentiously to boil for decades, and with the passing of this Act in Obama’s administration, its got people fired up about their health insurance. While people may be passionate about the topic, or at least have heard about it on CNN, can you or your loved ones say with confidence that you completely understand the Act and the laws it contains? How about all of the ways it will impact you? Here are some things that you should know about this Act, what it will do for the American people, and some context to better understand opposition to these laws, particularly from the Republican Party.
Let’s first look at the key points of the Act, and how it will change the health care industry in the U.S. For those who already have an insurance policy, the new laws will protect you as a consumer, so you can get the most out of your current plan. Anyone who has gotten ‘surprise’ fees for doctor’s visits or prescriptions that you thought were covered will understand the importance of this protection. For families who do not have insurance coverage due to high cost, or because they were dropped or unable to find coverage due to the aforementioned pre-existing conditions, then you will have access to insurance coverage with this Act. You will no longer be able to be denied the coverage you need – due to a health condition that is likely out of your control. If you’re a senior, aged 65 or older, then you’ll be able to use the strengthened Medicare program to make sure that you get all of your prescriptions and preventative needs taken care of, because of these laws.
One of the key points in the legislation that has gained a lot of media attention is the requirement that employers provide employees with a health care option, with the Act offering both tax credits and programs to help small businesses offer this for employees. The required coverage of birth control with these employee plans, for moral reasons, has been the talking (or ranting) point the GOP has used to oppose this Act, and has taken center stage in the media spotlight. In addition to moral opposition from the Republicans, there has also been outcry from the GOP about the fact that there will be $813 billion in new taxes on job creators and middle-class families. Yes, this seems like a staggering number that is going to hurt American’s across the country. But when you factor in the statistic of $20,000 in medical costs each year the average family is spending and the fact that 60% of all bankruptcies are due to medical spending, you can clearly see that these taxes are providing more effective medical coverage for Americans, and that they are lower than the amount currently being paid overall by the taxpayer.
Did you know that 49.9 million or 16.3% of Americans are uninsured? And of those uninsured, many are foreign born citizens, students and low income families in need? But according to Chris Collins, a GOP party member, this doesn’t matter as, “People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things,” Collins says. An interesting statement when you consider that 28,000 men will die from prostate cancer and 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year in the United States. Uninformed comments aside, as House member Whip Steny states, the Act is already helping American families to keep their families healthy and taken care of. “This landmark legislation is putting health care decisions in the hands of Americans rather than insurance companies,” Hoyer said. “Millions are already benefiting from this legislation: Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, young adults can stay on their parent’s health care plan until age 26, and the prescription drug ‘doughnut hole’ is closing,” he commented.
For those who are under the poverty level and are afraid that this insurance will bankrupt them, don’t be afraid of this. According to the NPR (National Public Radio), “Starting in 2014, anyone with an income under 133 percent of poverty, which this year is just under $15,000 for an individual and just over $25,000 for a family of 3, will be eligible for Medicaid coverage,” meaning that they will be covered for their medical care.
So know the facts, and use this information to protect and provide for your family. The Affordable Health Care Act is a move in the American government to provide insurance for those who are uninsured, protect those who are, and keep insurance companies honest, while serving the best interest of the American people. When you look at the statistics of bankruptcy and health care costs for American families, it is clear that healthcare is a huge burden on many middle class families, and by requiring employers to offer health insurance options and insurance companies to help all Americans, even those with pre-existing conditions, families can stop worrying so much about piling up medical bills and work on other challenges ahead.
pre-existing condition – medical condition that occurred before insurance went into effect
Medicare – is a national social insurance program, administered by the U.S. federal government in 1965, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans ages 65 and older
preventative needs – programs and procedures that prevent serious health problems from occuring
bankruptcy – a person who is unable to pay their debts, who files with the courts to absolve or minimize the debt
GOP – short for the Good Ol’ Party, another term used to describe the Republican Party
Q: You say this will help poor families, but this act will require poor families to have to decide if they want to pay for this insurance that they don’t want or put food on their families table!
A: You’re not going to have to choose between providing for your family and healthcare coverage, with the new laws. The government is going to provide a market competitive insurance option, that works on a sliding scale, so you if you opt for this coverage instead of private plans, you’ll be able to get healthcare coverage you need, and still put food on your table, paying what you can.
Q: Won’t this Act bankrupt small businesses or make it harder for them to hire employees, because they have to provide them with health coverage?
A: No, not if the small businesses take advantage of the tax credits and programs that the Obama administration is setting up to make it financially possible for businesses to offer the coverage.
Q: What if I don’t want a government plan or the plan my employer will now offer me? Do I have to take this plan?
A: No. You will still be able to go to companies and obtain insurance elsewhere, if your employer offers a plan that you don’t want. It’s just meant to provide everyone with an option – not a mandate.
Q: How will the Act help me with my existing insurance plan?
A: The Act provides consumer protections, meaning that the government is tightening the guidelines for what insurance companies have to do in order to get them the care that they need. There will be less denial notices for treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses, and more access to preventative care, like mammograms or birth control. There will also be a far less chance that you’ll have surprise bills for treatment, and these companies won’t be able to drop you or not sign you just because you have a pre-existing condition.
Q: If this is going to cost insurance companies more money, won’t our premiums go up?
A: No. Insurance companies make billions a year in profit in premiums, but very little of it actually goes back into paying for the treatment and doctor visits that American families make each year. The Act requires that these companies provide better care – without jacking up the price of premiums.
If you have any other questions, please leave a comment and we will get back to you with an answer!