Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commonly known as Obamacare was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The primary objective of the Act is to decrease the number of uninsured Americans and reduce the overall costs of health care. On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the majority provisions of PPACA, much to the surprise of many. There was an article written several years ago entitled One Pill, Two Pill, Red Pill, Blue Pill: Top 10 Reasons Obamacare Is Wrong for America; go to http://www.fixhealthcarepolicy.com search Top 10 Reasons Obamacare Is Wrong for America to read the details.
As you are aware, PPACA includes several provisions which will take effect over the next several years. In my opinion, the most important provisions are the “Guaranteed issue which will require policies to be issued regardless of any medical condition, and partial community rating which will require insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to gender or most pre-existing conditions excluding tobacco use.” Another provision worth noting is the “Health insurance exchanges which will commence operation in each state, offering a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare policies and premiums, and buy insurance (with a government subsidy if eligible. Also, The Food and Drug Administration is now authorized to approve generic versions of biologics and grant biologic manufacturers 12 years of exclusive use before generics can be developed.
Provisions effective in 2013
• “Income from self-employment and wages of single individuals in excess of $200,000 annually will be subject to an additional tax of 0.9%. The threshold amount is $250,000 for a married couple filing jointly (threshold applies to joint compensation of the two spouses), or $125,000 for a married person filing separately In addition, an additional Medicare tax of 3.8% will apply to unearned income, specifically the lesser of net investment income or the amount by which adjusted gross income exceeds $200,000 ($250,000 for a married couple filing jointly; $125,000 for a married person filing separately.
• Beginning January 1, 2013, the limit on pre-tax contributions to healthcare flexible spending accounts will be capped at $2,500 per year.
• Most medical devices become subject to a 2.3% excise tax collected at the time of purchase. This tax will also apply to some medical devices, such as examination gloves and catheters, that are used in Veterinary Medicine.
Religious organizations that were given an extra year to implement the contraceptive mandate are no longer exempt. Certain non-exempt, non-grandfathered group health plans established and maintained by non-profit organizations with religious objections to covering contraceptive services may take advantage of a one-year enforcement safe harbor (i.e., until the first plan year beginning on or after August 1, 2013) by timely satisfying certain requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.” This provision has stimulated discussion with the Catholic Church.
There are augments for Obamacare and thus, an article which is also worth reading. Go to http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/03/28/5-reasons-obamacare-is-already-good-for/#ixzz2MgPuNo61
This is indeed a thirty foot view of the Act; I’ve only scratched the surface. The Act is by no means perfect and many revisions are needed but in my opinion it is a start in the right direction.