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What is "Obamacare"?

We hear a lot of talk about "ObamaCare" in the news, and given that the most remarkable and radical change in health care policy since Medicare has taken place, it's worth investigating what it is. President Obama signed The Patient Protection an...

We hear a lot of talk about "ObamaCare" in the news, and given that the most remarkable and radical change in health care policy since Medicare has taken place, it's worth investigating what it is. President Obama signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, just over two years ago. The plan is to be incorporated incrementally beginning July of 2010 and the last installments ending in 2020. The plan will cover 32 million Americans who would otherwise be without insurance. But it also impacts those who already have health care. Also, employers with more than fifty employees are required by the law to provide healthcare for them or pay a fine of up to $2,000 per worker if they receive federal subsidies in order to get coverage.

In most cases, it would be less expensive to provide healthcare. The bill does not allow private insurers to get funding from taxpayers. Insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions. It also widens the spectrum of those who are covered and the coverage of Medicare and Medicaid.

One of the most prominent, and controversial pieces of the new law is that it requires everyone to have health care or pay a fine up to $650 a year. Exceptions are of course made for religious objections and financial burdens. This particular clause is cause for speculation because many people believe that it is unconstitutional to all but force people to buy something.

The issue of constitutionality has gone so far that that it is now being debated in the Supreme Court. The justices have not yet made the decision on whether or not the law is constitutional, but they are set to in early June. The healthcare reform is one of the crowning jewels of the Obama administration; if it is repealed by the Supreme Court the future of American health care is uncertain.

Sources for this article include CBS News, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the National Review.

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