Facts about the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”)

The ACA (Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare) means the following:

  • Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive.
  • They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.
  • They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.
  • They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.
  • They have to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms
  • Young adults under the age of 26 can stay on their parent’s health care plans
  • Senior citizens save money on prescription drugs

Starting in 2014:

  • Insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against anyone with a preexisting health condition
  • They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman.
  • They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy.

Source: WhiteHouse.gov

When Mitt Romney’s health insurance reform passed in Massachusetts, I was disgusted to discover that it included an individual mandate — in other words, that everyone in the state HAD to buy health insurance. At the time, I was self-employed and was barely able to pay my bills. Health insurance, especially in the days before the exchanges, was completely out of the question.

The health insurance mandate was one of the big reasons why I decided to take a full-time job with a larger company, but it wasn’t the only reason. The other big reason had to do with access to health care. During my years of self-employment, I paid for all of my health care out of pocket: visits to the doctor, prescription medication, diagnostic tests, and the rest. I’ve been living with a chronic illness since my late teens. And there were some things I just couldn’t afford, things that would have made it possible to manage my illness much more effectively. Toward the end of my years living uninsured, I could see myself getting sicker and sicker. I knew that I needed to have better access to health care; if I didn’t, I would become so sick that I wouldn’t be able to work at all.

What I find most disgusting about the national debate on health care is that the individual mandate — the very thing that Republicans and Tea Partiers wail and gnash their teeth about, the thing they decry as socialist government control — was their idea in the first place.

But what I find just as disgusting — flabbergasting, even — is the Left’s inability to effectively mobilize and stay on message around this issue. So that many of the people who most desperately need better health care coverage, the people who benefit most from the passage of the ACA, are the same people wailing and gnashing their teeth about it. Ah, well. Perhaps they’ll be happier in Canada.

4 Replies to “Facts about the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”)”

  1. As an Italian I can’t find ACA good enough, because here everyone, employed or not, hill or not, just because is alive and with citizenship has the right of a full medical assistence (visits, diagnostics, with a very small amount to be paid only by those that can afford it – and public hospital completely free of charge).
    You explained very clearly your situation, I would like to know: what would have happened if you were not able to find a better rewarded job ?
    Thank you very much

  2. MCC43, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    I think it’s very easy to sit in another country and pass judgment on the United States healthcare system. Unfortunately, one can wish and wish that an elephant will fit in a teacup, but it won’t make it so. The option of a single payer system was shot down back in the 1990s when Hilary Clinton first broached it. I’m not a fan of the individual mandate, but it is a step in the right direction. The elephant is still too big to fit in a teacup, but the ACA at least puts the elephant on a diet and increases the size of the teacup.

    Your question “What would have happened if you were not able to find a better rewarded job?” is a good one. I’m happy to say that I don’t have to contemplate the answer. Most likely, my illness would have gotten worse, I would have become permanently disabled, and would be a drain on our social services instead of helping to pay for them. Here’s a question for you: What would Italy be like if it were run by Germans?

    I look forward to your reply.

    PS: Your English is much better than my Italian.

    1. My dear Okelle, thank for the answer . It makes me understand that Obamacare is a great step compared with the past.
      The struggle in Italy is to maintain what we have even if it’s always more difficult for the public resources to afford it. We need a more conscious attitude from the people: not to use doctors and medicines and medical tests as a reassurance against other difficulties of life.
      What we defend is a principle: first the person than the money, and is not an easy task today.
      About your smart question … actually I don’t know how it would be our system ruled by Angela Merkel. I will ask someone living in Germany, but I dare say … that it would be better. As Italians we always complain that others in Europe get more than we obtain by our state.
      I promise to let you know if and when I get info, you pushed me to know more. Thanks and … ciao.
      ps. so proud to make me undestood. in English…

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