What Does the Obama Health Care Bill Mean?
After much debate and heated rhetoric from nearly every elected official, the Obama Health Care Bill is now law. While the bill, like every other bill ever passed, is extensively long and complicated, there are main points that can and will affect the health care choices of virtually every American. There are provisions in the bill that will go into effect immediately, some within six months, and others that will be implemented in steps over the next 10 years.
One of the main provisions that will greatly affect the health of millions of Americans is the extension and availability of coverage for the 32 million people in this country who are currently not insured. Those who are self-employed or uninsured for other reasons will be able to buy affordable insurance through the states and through subsidies. Another provision that has come as a relief, and potential lifesaver, for families centered on sick children, is that the children will no longer be denied coverage based on their illness. Not covering sick kids based on the pre-existing condition loopholes allowed for insurance companies to simply say “no” to covering and paying for lifesaving treatments for those children who needed it most. Under the Health Care Bill, parents will never feel helpless against insurance companies again. Another provision of the bill pertaining to parents and children is the extension of coverage for kids through their parents insurance until the age of 26.
Other items in the bill state that small businesses, with fewer than 25 people, will have to make affordable insurance available for employees. The business owner can receive up to 35% of the premium cost as a tax credit when they do provide coverage to their employees
For those who are currently uninsured due to pre-existing conditions, they can immediately receive subsidies to buy into a high risk pool. In 2014, the practice of denying adults coverage because of pre-existing conditions will be banished altogether. The practice of dropping coverage on individuals after they become sick will also not be tolerated anymore under the new plan.
Other important bans involving insurance companies include a ban on lifetime limits on care. There are now restrictions on annual limits on the amount or type of coverage a person may access. In 2014, the plan will implement bans on all kinds of limits on care from insurance companies.
2014 is also a key year for Medicaid changes. In 2014, Medicaid will be extended to childless adults. By 2014, everyone must purchase health insurance of some sort or face an annual fine of $695. For those who are low income and cannot afford the most basic plan, there will be some limited exceptions.
While the debate waged on for months, misinformation was put out to public concerning coverage for illegal immigrants. There is no eligibility for illegal immigrants.
Some of the less complicated and financial aspects of the plan involve provisions to help communities simply be healthier. There will be free preventive care under Medicare, meaning preventive services will have no co-pays and will be exempt from deductibles. There will also be a significant increase in funding for community health centers. These centers will be more available and able to see roughly twice the patients as existing centers.
When it comes to disputes and questions regarding health care and insurance issues, there will be aid given to states to establish offices to assist people with complaints or appeals concerning coverage.
While there will always be fierce debate about the bill on both sides and issues that cannot be solved easily, the Obama Health Care Bill opens the door to change. It helps let the uninsured in the door and in better control of their health care decisions. The overall hope of the plan is to make coverage available to more people, which will help set the tone for a decrease in health care cost for everyone. Ideally, the plan will give control back to the patient and encourage better health. It is a proven fact when people have insurance, they live healthier and are more responsible with their health. This alone will ease the burden that society has to pay for when the uninsured fall ill and turn to emergency care, or worse yet, no care at all.