Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Break: A Primer on "Obamacare" and What We Know

Last week was my spring break, which probably should have meant that I would post every day, however, I was busy researching things and found myself unable to post anything substantial over the last week.

But I'm back, as Shaquille O'Neal would say.  Obama's health care act, the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare" by Republicans is going up against the Supreme Court to see if it is unconstitutional.  In preparation for this, the great website PolitiFact has been running through the different claims about the health care law.  You can find it here, here, or here. 

In all honesty, I am not here to debate the health care law.  I will just highlight what PolitiFact has found to be true about the health care law.

What does the Affordable Care Act do?

1. Leaves in place employer-provided insurance- "It does not require employers to offer insurance, but it does impose taxes on employers if they don't offer insurance and their employees qualify for new health insurance tax credits"

2. Health Insurance Exchanges where owners of small businesses and others who have purchased health care can compare prices on health insurance and figure out the best cost.

3. More regulation for insurers- requires health insurance companies to offer preventive care and no longer allows for insurance companies to offer catastrophically high insurance plans

4. More for all- "The plan expands eligibility for insurance programs like Medicaid and the state Children's Health Insurance Program. All poor people will qualify for Medicaid. (Previously, a person had to be poor and also elderly, disabled, pregnant or a parent to qualify.) People of modest means would receive tax credits to buy their own insurance on the health insurance exchange."

5. An individual mandate- requires people to buy health insurance unless they qualify for a hardship exemption.  Those who still choose not to buy health insurance would have to pay a penalty on their taxes.

6. Changes to Medicare- "The law makes changes to how Medicare pays doctors and other health care providers. Taken as a whole, the new rules aim to pay doctors for good patient outcomes instead of paying them per procedure, also called 'fee-for-service.' The law eliminates excess payments to the Medicare Advantage program, which typically offer seniors extra benefits beyond what traditional Medicare offers. An independent payment advisory board, called IPAB, will set rules to reduce the growth of costs and improve the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Its recommendations would take effect unless Congress overrules them."

7. New Taxes- "To pay for the expanded health care coverage, the law institutes several new taxes. One of the biggest is increasing Medicare payroll taxes for couples who make more than $250,000 a year and individuals who make more than $200,000; their rates go from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent, and the 3.8 percent applies to investment income as well. There’s a new tax of 2.3 percent on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices. Those provisions start in 2013. There’s also a tax on high-dollar 'Cadillac' plans that cost more than average that starts in 2018. A new 10 percent tax on indoor tanning is already in place, as well as increased taxes on tobacco to pay for children’s health insurance."
It's important to note that the SCHIP law was the first one President Obama signed into law which raised taxes on tobacco prodcuts to help fund a state-sponsored children's health insurance program.

8. Research on better treatments- a research center will help reserach the best and newest treatments so that people will not rely on outdated treatments.

9. Electronic Records- making it so that there is a standard electronic record for each patient so that each person when they go to the doctor can have an updated list of all treatments and everything they have been treated for.

No comments:

Post a Comment