The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed a healthcare reform called The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known worldwide by its unofficial name: ObamaCare.
Before this reform was introduced, having health insurance in most North American states was very expensive and complex. In extreme cases, access to insurance was denied for patients with certain medical conditions, leaving them without support.
What Does it Consist of?
This North American health reform extends and improves healthcare access. Its main objective is to provide more affordable health services for citizens, increasing the quality of such services, and regulating the medical insurance industry. Thus, improving existing insurance plans, providing medical insurance to the entire population, and reducing health expenses through promoting prevention.
The reform was divided into two: For Medicare (which consists of healthcare for people over 65), medicines would cost less for individuals. Medicaid would help people with limited resources who cannot afford private insurance. In addition, it was proposed that people who suffer from a chronic disease, such as cancer or diabetes, would not be restricted from having medical insurance, and unaffordable policies would not be in place.
What does this reform offer?
- Vast benefits, rights, and protection for the healthcare of Americans.
- Establishes a Health Insurance Market, HealthCare.gov, where US citizens can purchase federally regulated and subsidized health insurance during registration.
- Extends Medicaid in several states.
- Improves Medicare for seniors and those with disabilities.
- Extends employers’ coverage to millions of workers.
- It requires for most people to be covered; those who are not covered could be eligible for an exception or pay a fee.
- Introduces new taxes and tax credits.
Who Benefits from it?
Thanks to this reform, 15% of Americans who did not have coverage received access to affordable quality medical insurance, either through the health insurance market in their state of residence or through the expansion of Medicaid.
Meanwhile, the 80% of individuals who already have some type of health insurance, are benefitting because of the rights and protections this reform offers. Some of these protections are: eliminating pre-existing conditions and discrimination. No one can be charged more money or have their health insurance canceled for reasons related to their health or their gender. ObamaCare provides access to quality healthcare to tens of millions of low/medium-income Americans through discounts at the Health Insurance Market. It also helps ensure that healthcare coverage is available to any legal North American resident who cannot obtain quality health care through their employer.
What is the Health Insurance Market?
It is a website of cost comparisons where American citizens can purchase quality medical insurance at affordable costs. They can also receive financial assistance to reduce premiums and other costs. People can even qualify for Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
Individuals with extremely low incomes may qualify for financial assistance through this market. These services are provided by the state of residence of interested citizens. These health insurances are obtained during open registration at healthcare.gov.
In 2014, President Obama stated that more than 85% of Americans with health insurance were already witnessing many of the benefits that the program offers, and has been offering since 2010.
The ObamaCare reform contains many provisions designed to curb costs by improving the quality of care Americans receive. For example, by providing better health, welfare and preventive services, and raising the basic coverage healthcare standards.
- No insurer can refuse to assist in an emergency, nor exclude any chronic patient from any coverage.
- Insurers can only refuse care if fraud by the patient is discovered, otherwise it is completely illegal.
- ObamaCare offers access to preventive health services and prohibits cost variation by gender to 47 million women.
- This reform does not replace Private Insurance, Medicare or Medicaid/CHIP.
- It does not coordinate or regulate the medical care received, but ensures that medical insurance fulfills its established functions.
- In 2017, a total of 74,424,652 people enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.