“Obamacare” (aka The Affordable Health Care Act) passed a big test when it was upheld earlier this year in a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court.
Earlier this week the Affordable Care Act passed another big test when President Obama was reelected.
The Affordable Health Care Act in its present form will require most Americans to have health insurance by 2014. It is widely believed that the Act will make it easier for many to have insurance they might previously have been denied.
Under the Act, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying anyone insurance due to preexisting conditions. It will also place limits on age-related premium increases. According to CNN, President Obama said such provisions of the health care law were intended to create an all-inclusive system.
Although the Affordable Health Care Act currently has no provisions regarding eligibility for Medicare, there are provisions in the Act offering potential benefits to those already on Medicare. The Act provides for an increase in preventive health services, and NPR reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that more than 14 million Medicare users received at least one free preventive health service during the first five months of 2012.
As far as Medicare is concerned, Obamacare may impact most heavily on prescription drug costs paid by those enrolled in Medicare Part D.
Currently, Medicare Part D recipients enter an initial coverage period after their deductible is met. During this initial coverage phase, the recipient’s prescription drug plan pays its share for each covered drug until the combined amount, including the deductible, reaches $2,930.
Once the recipient and his or her Medicare prescription drug plan have reached the combined $2,930 threshold, the Medicare Part D recipient is said to be in the “Donut Hole” period. During this stage the recipient normally has to pay prescription drug costs out of pocket until total out-of-pocket costs reach $4,700.
According to NPR, the law, over several years, is set to reduce the amount of money that Medicare drug plans can charge individuals for drugs when their coverage lapses in the donut hole. NPR reports that the price reductions that have already taken effect have reduced Medicare consumers’ drug costs significantly.
President Obama’s victory on Election Day ensures that the Affordable Health Care Act isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Provisions of the Act will continue to be implemented, and seniors across the country are hoping to get their fair share of benefits from Obamacare.
Although it is acknowledged by critics and supporters of the President alike that Medicare is secure during a second Obama term, there are those who worry that Medicare will suffer under Obamacare. According to Dr. Marc Seigel, offering his view of Obamacare at FoxNews.com, “Federal regulations in the form of Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board as well as ObamaCare’s many other committees will restrict my choices for my patients. I will have more patients with more red tape and less time to spend with them.”
Meanwhile, Matt Miller of The Washington Post characterizes the Obama victory on Election Day as vindication for Obamacare. Certainly there remains plenty of debate as to the pros and cons of Obamacare, but regardless of where individual Americans stand on the issue, it’s hard to argue with the assessment put forth by Len Nichols, a health economist at George Mason University, that “the reelection of Obama and the Democrats holding the Senate will solidify the law in American history.”
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A note from the author:If you want to follow our nation’s continuing debate on Obamacare, all you’ve got to do is read the comments from our Facebook visitors.
Some commenters minced few words in expressing their views on the Affordable Care Act. Comments ran the gamut from TCO’s “It is the worst and most costly legislation ever enacted” all the way to JV’s assertion that “This Act is decades past due.”
Many who commented on the ACA spoke harshly about government involvement in health care. PH commented: “Federal government can’t run anything efficiently.” LD warned that “bringing medical care increasingly under the federal government will reduce innovation and increase the workload or financial efficiency for each medical worker.” BS and JL saw Obamacare as an attempt to control Americans and the choices they make. PSH and TK wondered why, if the ACA is so good, Washington politicians have opted out of the program. Clearly, many of our Facebook visitors are reluctant to embrace the ACA.
But the other side in the ACA debate is well represented. According to LHB, “The Affordable Care Act makes many changes to strengthen Medicare and provide stronger benefits to seniors, while slowing cost growth.” LHB went on to estimate that Medicare beneficiaries stand to save $3,500-$12,300 over the next 10 years under the Affordable Care Act.
JK lauds the ACA’s focus on preventing insurance companies from excluding people with preexisting conditions. “Try getting health insurance which covers a preexisting condition today,” said JK. AB added: “The insurance companies can no longer cancel you or raise your premiums sky-high because you get a serious medical condition. What is not to like about that?” RC went a step further: “I am a 77-year-old diabetic and I love it.”
Both sides chimed in on the proposed $716 billion in cuts to Medicare under the ACA—but of course both sides saw the reductions differently. While JL expressed concern about $716 billion being taken from Medicare, ND suggested that $716 billion in Medicare fraud will be eliminated.
A few commenters suggested the ACA ought to cut out private insurance companies. DM said, “I believe we need to provide health care for all Americans and private insurance has not worked to help the most needy in this country.” EG said: “Now we need to get the insurance companies out of it and have a single payer system.”
MA said: “I’d prefer true universal healthcare … the kind that the rest of the civilized world has.” BB added that “Thirty-two of the thirty-three developed nations have universal health care, with the United States being the lone exception.”
Some commenters saw the ACA as detrimental to business. GN said: “Watch and see how many companies either close up or cut hours back to evade paying the cost of this.” BA added, “It will kill small business.”
A few Facebook visitors suggested the Affordable Care Act is unlikely to live up to its name. “It’s not affordable,” commented MD. LU added that the ACA “will do nothing for our health care but make it more expensive and make it impossible to get good care.”
Some commenters said the difficulty of getting good care under the ACA is due to many doctors’ opposition to Obamacare. “Get rid of it. Doctors don’t want it. They won’t be allowed to treat patients the way they should,” commented RP. JB agreed that doctors are reluctant to remain in Medicare, and added, “This will eventually destroy the US medical system.”
Not so, according to GB, who said, “Our country needs it.”
Perhaps suggesting the debate ought to end, EG noted that the 2012 presidential election is over and “the majority has spoken.” But if EG reads the hundreds of comments our Facebook visitors have offered up in the Obamacare debate, he or she will realize that, while the majority may have spoken, the debate on the ACA is far from over—so let’s keep those comments coming!
Obama Wins — What Does That Mean for Healthcare? © 2012 MedicareMall.com