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Monday, March 26, 2012

With Affordable Care Act In Spotlight, Many Provisions Already In Effect

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Ac provides coverage to more than 30 million uninsured. (AP)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law two years ago. Many of the provisions have already kicked in, but according to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, two-thirds of Americans said they haven’t been affected by the law yet. Only 14 percent said they had benefited.

One of the most highly publicized benefits is the provision that has allowed 2.5 million young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26. And all insurance plans have to provide preventive services like mammograms, colonoscopies and cholesterol tests without deductibles or co-pays.

The law also closed the so-called “doughnut hole” for 4 million seniors in the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. That’s when Medicare recipients who had paid a certain initial amount in prescription costs had to pay all of their other drug costs until they spent a total of $4,700 a year.

Here are some other highlights of the Affordable Care Act:

  • Provides coverage to more than 30 million uninsured
  • Expands Medicaid to cover more uninsured low-income people
  • Creates exchanges, state-based health insurance markets, for small businesses and people buying private coverage individually
  • Provides government subsidies for many middle-class people buying private health insurance through an exchange
  • Requires most citizens and legal residents to carry health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by buying a policy directly. IRS will assess fines for noncompliance
  • Requires companies with 50 or more workers to provide coverage, or pay fines if any of their employees ends up getting a health insurance subsidy
  • Raises taxes on upper-income households; imposes a variety of taxes and fees on the health care industry. Places a 10 percent sales tax on indoor tanning. Some taxes are already in effect.
  • Cuts Medicare payments to hospitals, insurers and other service providers; improves preventive benefits for Medicare recipients and gradually closes prescription drug coverage gap. Limits future increases in Medicare spending. Some Medicare provisions are already in effect.
  • Significantly increases federal regulation of the health insurance industry (already in effect)
  • Congressional Budget Office estimates coverage expansion will have a net cost of $1.1 trillion from 2012-2021. Spending cuts and tax increases are currently projected to offset the cost, for a modest reduction in federal budget deficits.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


  • Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health Network

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • J Frog

    When does the “affordable” part kick in?

  • Haywood

    Why are we allowing nine UNELECTED people  sitting on the Supreme Court to  decide what the people should get?This should be decided by a vote by the people. “When the government has the power to make medical decisions for us, we, in essence, accept that the state owns our bodies.”
    –US Congressional Representative Ron Paul”If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

  • Clarathomas111

    Only 14 percent said they had benefited.

    However the insurance industry and the medical-industrial complex rackets will greatly benefit.
    This is payback to those industries from Obama for all their financial contributions to put this man in high office.
    Just as the banksters got their cut for being donors.
    Its business as usual in Corporate  America where monopolies run the show.

  • Guest

    A part of the law that has kicked in that was not discussed is Mental Health Care parity.  Though cost parity has been in place for several years, insurers are no longer allowed to cap the number of visits.  Prior to this law, many plans had only 26 visits per year, when most medically recommended therapy is weekly

  • Sam

    The question should be is why are the American people the sickest on the planet?
    Considering their high standard of living something is clearly wrong in America.

    How about we focus on the POOR DIET, BAD HABITS and LIFESTYLES that people practice?

    Americans are overfed and undernourished. They pop more medications that all other people on earth. Their health care or death care system is the most expensive on earth.
    As I have said for well over 40 years, there is no money in healthy people.
    Most people create their own problems by violating the laws of Nature. So let Nature take
    its course and cull the population. Its only natural.

    Americans have become slaves to the medical industrial complex and Big Pharma.

      “We start the day with caffeine, get through it with nicotine, relax in the evening with alcohol, start the next day with aspirin. Bubbling alkalizers remove yesterday’s brown taste to make room for today’s. That’s the real trouble, and there’s no pill for it.”              …Dr. Arthur H. Steinhaus…
         “Nothing offends patients more than to be asked to change their habits of life. Their desire is to be able to break every known law of health; then when they are called upon to pay the penalty, the expect complete absolution in a bottle or two of medicine. They are content to be patched up sufficiently to continue their practice of self-indulgence in various forms.”              …Dr. Alexander Bryce…

  • Sam

    “Two-thirds of these diseases, (heart disease and diabetes) would be eliminated if we consumed a healthier diet and exercised more”.   ~ Dr. Meir Stampfer M.D.,  Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

    Financial ruin from medical bills is almost exclusively an American disease  Roul Turley
    The doctor of the  future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human body, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. Thomas Edison…

    The only exercise some people get is–shovelling food into their stomach, digging their grave with their teeth, sidestepping the results of wrong living and running for the physicians.

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