What exactly is ObamaCare and what did it change? "Explained like you're a 5-year-old."
by Steve Fitzgerald on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 1:25pm ·
Originally posted on Reddit by CaspianX2, this is a good, simple breakdown of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare, for anyone who isn't already up to speed or wants a simple overview. Also on Reddit at http://www.reddit.com/tb/vbkfm.
Okay, explained like you're a five year-old (well, okay, maybe a bit older), without too much oversimplification, and (hopefully) without sounding too biased:
What people call "Obamacare" is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, people were calling it "Obamacare" before everyone even hammered out what it would be. It's a term mostly used by people who don't like the PPACA, and it's become popularized in part because PPACA is a really long and awkward name, even when you turn it into an acronym like that.
Anyway, the PPACA made a bunch of new rules regarding health care, with the purpose of making health care more affordable for everyone. Opponents of the PPACA, on the other hand, feel that the rules it makes take away too many freedoms and force people (both individuals and businesses) to do things they shouldn't have to.
So what does it do? Well, here is everything, in the order of when it goes into effect (because some of it happens later than other parts of it):
Already in effect:
It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices)
It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare (so drugs cost less)
It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn't directly control, PCORI, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money. ( Citation: Page 665, sec. 1181 )
It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy. ( Citation: Page 499, sec. 4205 )
It makes a "high-risk pool" for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of "pre-existing conditions" altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered "pre-existing conditions" can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them.
It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.
It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths. ( Citation: Page 923, sec. 5000B )
It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won't get any more coverage because they have hit a "lifetime limit". Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance, that company can't tell that person that he's used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won't cover him any more. They can't do this for lifetime spending, and they're limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending. ( Citation: Page 14, sec. 2711 )
Kids can continue to be covered by their parents' health insurance until they're 26.
No more "pre-existing conditions" for kids under the age of 19.
Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans.
People in a "Medicare Gap" get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend.
Insurers can't just drop customers once they get sick. ( Citation: Page 14, sec. 2712 )
Insurers have to tell customers what they're spending money on. (Instead of just "administrative fee", they have to be more specific).
Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they're turned down.
New ways to stop fraud are created.
Medicare extends to smaller hospitals.
Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.
Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly.
A new website is made to give people insurance and health information. (I think this is it: http://www.healthcare.gov/ ).
A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness.
A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they're not price-gouging customers.
A limit is placed on what type of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Basically, your insurer isn't paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover.
Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms.