The Truth About ObamaCare!
It has become known as “ObamaCare”, thanks to the media, including those on the left and of course, Republican politicians.
I remember the battle for health care reform during the early 90’s when the Clinton’s took on the issue and failed miserably. It sucked all the oxygen out of Washington, along with the wonderful compromise that President Clinton made that brought us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (sarcasm)
When President Obama announced that he was going to pass a health care law early on in his presidency, I thought it was a bad idea. I couldn’t help but picture a similar outcome as the Clinton’s produced. NADA!
Since I lived through the other attempt at health care reform and followed it closely, when the Obama administration was successful at passing the Affordable Care Act, I was elated. Even with all of it’s imperfections, the fact that President Obama set the standard that America cares about the health of ALL of its citizens was incredible. It was a monumental achievement, one that will go down as one of the most amazing political wins in the history of our country.
Given the opposition from both sides of the aisle and the huge amount of misinformation that was and still is being spread about it, I thought I’d take a minute to share with you some truth about what “ObamaCare” has accomplished so far. There is much more to come in the years ahead.
More than 2.5 million young Americans under 26 now have health insurance who would otherwise not be covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday morning.
Previously, the department had reported that 1 million young people were covered under the provision in the act, which also helps recent college graduates without a job but not on a parent’s plan stay insured.
I work at a university and supervise over 15 student workers. To them, the Affordable Care Act is kick-ass.
Part of the decline this year reflects timing shifts in certain Medicare payments, which will soon be reversed. Even adjusting for these shifts, though, Medicare spending is still up less than 4 percent so far this year.
The 2011 numbers come on the heels of relatively slow growth in 2010 as well. Last year, Medicare spending rose just a little more than 4 percent.
Compare this with an almost 12 percent average annual growth rate in Medicare spending since the early 1970s.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare’s prescription coverage gap is getting noticeably smaller and easier to manage this year for millions of older and disabled people with high drug costs.
The “doughnut hole,” an anxiety-inducing catch in an otherwise popular benefit, will shrink about 40 percent for those unlucky enough to land in it, according to new Medicare figures provided in response to a request from The Associated Press.
The average beneficiary who falls into the coverage gap would have spent $1,504 this year on prescriptions. But thanks to discounts and other provisions in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, that cost fell to $901, according to Medicare’s Office of the Actuary, which handles economic estimates.
For people with pre-existing conditions, including my niece who had cancer at age 25, the Affordable Care Act rocks…as my niece would say. If you haven’t read Spike Dolomite Ward’s story from the LA Times, go read it now. She wrote an apology to President Obama.
Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.
With the economy still in a slump, small business owners like me are doing everything we can to keep our costs down. A particularly troublesome cost for my business is health insurance.
However, I recently learned there are tax credits in the new healthcare law specifically for small businesses that will help us pocket some extra cash. [...]
Under the Affordable Care Act, our store will receive a $15,000 tax credit. That’s not all the money in the world, but it means a lot to us and costs the government little or nothing.
Here’s how it worked for us. Last spring, when the tea leaves of commerce were hard to read, the tax credit gave me the confidence to hire a new full-time employee.
That employee is now paying taxes. That means thousands of dollars going into government coffers. [...]
Another employee had been paying nearly $20,000 for his family insurance. Our tax credit gave me the confidence to encourage him to switch to our policy, which now saves that family more than $8,000 per year.
That money is going right into a new roof on the house and education for their kids.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating: one of the most important things the Affordable Care Act did was to massively expand the community health centers. If one agrees that health care, at the end of the day, should be a venture not waged for profit, then one cannot avoid the importance of the community health centers. The health centers currently serve over 20 million people, and are committed to doubling that capacity to 40 million by 2015.
The Affordable Care Act establishes common-sense consumer protections and requires insurers to operate in a more transparent manner. Fair rules and transparency help create a more level playing field between consumers and insurers. The law also empowers States by putting them in the driver’s seat in implementing many of these new consumer protections.
On July 23, 2010, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued an interim final rule regarding internal claims and appeals and external review processes for group health plans and health insurance issuers offering coverage in the group and individual markets. This rule works to give people in most plans better information about what their rights are and why their claims were denied or coverage rescinded. Under the rule, consumers have the:
- Right to information about why a claim or coverage has been denied. Health plans and insurance companies have to tell you why they’ve decided to deny a claim or chosen to end your coverage – and how you can appeal that decision.
- Right to appeal to the insurance company. If you’ve had a claim denied or had your coverage rescinded, you have the right to an internal appeals process, a process in which you ask your insurance company to conduct a full and fair review of its decision. If the case is urgent, your insurance company must speed up this process.
- Right to an independent review. Often, insurers and their policyholders can resolve disputes during the internal appeals process. If you can’t work it out through the internal appeals process, you now have the right to take your appeal to an independent third-party for review of the insurer’s decision. This is called “external review.” This way, the insurance company no longer gets the final say regarding your benefits, and patients and doctors get a greater measure of control over health care.
These protections and standards are an important step forward in reforming the health care system to make sure it works for consumers, not just insurance companies.
The new rules establish a new voluntary Medicare Shared Savings Program that helps doctors, hospitals, and other providers improve their ability to coordinate care across all health care settings. Providers who meet certain quality standards can share in any resulting savings.
The quality measures are organized into four domains:
- Patient experience
- Care coordination and patient safety
- Preventive health
- Caring for at-risk populations
The higher the quality of care providers deliver and the greater the effectiveness of their care coordination, the more savings they may keep. Federal savings could be up to $940 million over four years.
Believe it or not, I could go on and on with the many provisions that are working from the Affordable Care Act, but I will leave it at that for now.
I hope you bookmark this post and refer people who have fallen for the misinformation being peddled by Republicans and even many on the left who are using their carefully crafted propaganda against this landmark legislation — to further their own selfish interests.
I remember talking to a friend from Germany over 25 years ago about the difference between European countries and America when it comes to health coverage. He couldn’t understand the attitude of the then Reagan brigade. He said to me something to the effect that “in Europe, we want our fellow citizens to be healthy”. He was 17 years old at the time.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles