As you’ve no doubt already heard, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress earlier this week, with much fanfare and antagonism on both side of the aisle. The health care reform bill makes numerous sweeping changes, and if you haven’t read up on them, there are many sites with good summary and breakdowns for you to gloss over.
A Summary of Key Provisions
Effective June 23, 2010:
- Adults with pre-existing conditions will be eligible to join a temporary high-risk pool, which will be replaced by the health care exchange in 2014.
Effective September 21, 2010:
- Young adults will be able to remain on their parents health care insurance plan until their 26th birthday.
- Insurers are prohibited from changing co-payments or deductibles from preventive care and medical screenings on all new insurance plans (be aware that this does not retroactively affect your old plan).
- People affected by the infamous Medicare Part D coverage gap will receive assistance via a $250 rebate to help pay for prescriptions.
- Insurance companies could no longer deny children coverage based on a preexisting condition.
- Insurers’ abilities to enforce annual spending caps will be restricted and completely prohibited by 2014.
Effective January 1st, 2014:
- All insurers are prohibited from denying coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions.
- By law, everyone would be required to buy health insurance coverage by 2014, or face a fine of $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. The fine increases in 2015 to $325 or 2 percent of income, and increases again in 2016 to $695 or 2.5 percent of income. There is an exemption clause to the fine for poorer Americans who are under the federal poverty level.
- Health insurance exchanges would be established to allow subsidization of insurance premiums for individuals with income up to 400% of the poverty line, as well as individual adults. The exchanges main goals will be to make health coverage affordable for small businesses, the self-employed and the unemployed to pool resources and buy less expensive coverage.
Violence, Vandalism, and Threats Follows Bill Passage
In a perhaps non-surprising turn of events (particularly when viewpoints on the bill are so polarizing), Congressional members on both sides of the aisle are facing harassment and threats from their constituent due to their Representatives’ vote on the health care bill.
Shots were fired at Representative Eric Cantor’s office, the Republican representative for the 7th District of Virgin, as windows were smashed at Democratic offices across three states. In another clear case of how sharply divided this nation has become, coffins were placed on the lawn of Democratic Representative Russ Carnahan of Missouri’s 3rd District.
How do you feel about the health care bill in general? What about the subsequent violence and threats against our Representatives?