“The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” –President Barack Obama
Its official, the Affordable Care Act also known as “Obamacare” is here to stay. During the first open enrollment period of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement 7.1 million Americans signed up for healthcare coverage through the exchange. Once you add the scores of young Americans allowed to stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26 and those eligible to enroll in Medicaid the number of those receiving benefits under the Affordable Care Act is nearly 12 million. According to the Congressional Budget Office enrollment in the health care exchanges is expected to double next year and quadruple by 2017. The number of Americans receiving insurance under the law in 2017; the earliest date we could have a Republican president, could be close to 30 million which makes it is safe to say Obamacare is here to stay!
Obamacare by no means was guaranteed to succeed, it was a rocky rode getting the law passed let alone enacted, but political courage by Congressional Democrats in 2010 paved the way. Democrats paid a heavy price in 2010 for enacting the health care law. During the 2010 mid-term elections Congressional Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and seats in the Senate, but I believe the cost was worth it. Every progressive president over the last 100 years has tried and failed to enact a national health care plan, President Obama achieved where they failed.
Here are some of the new rights and protections provided under Obamacare:
- Creates the Health Insurance Marketplace, a new way for individuals, families, and small businesses to get health coverage
- Requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing health conditions
- Helps you understand the coverage you’re getting
- Holds insurance companies accountable for rate increases
- Makes it illegal for health insurance companies to arbitrarily cancel your health insurance just because you get sick
- Protects your choice of doctors
- Covers young adults under 26
- Provides free preventive care
- Ends lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits
In addition to the rights and benefits included in this guide, here are some others:
- Breastfeeding equipment and support
- Birth control methods and counseling
- Mental health and substance abuse services
- Appealing a health plan decision
Republicans have spent the better half of four years trying to sabotage and repeal this law. Republican Governors and legislatures across the country refused to expand Medicaid denying health insurance to millions of low income Americans. Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal the law and voted to do so on 40 different occasions. If Republicans were smart they would offer to fix the flaws in the legislation and take credit for future success, but Republicans loathed Obama and this law so much that despite the law’s success they continue to promise to repeal the law, taking new rights and protections away from millions of Americans.
For those Republicans feeling sick because of the laws success, I advise you to sign-up during the next open enrollment period.