Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fact sheet regarding the Affordable Care Act, outlining benefits the uninsured can expect


The U.S. Supreme Court Justices from left to right on front row: Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts (center), Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Gingsburg; standing in rear from left to right: Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Jr. and Elena Kagan.
The Supreme Court’s decision on the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act came down to a vote of  5 to 4, with Justice John Roberts “breaking” from conservative justices. The media, Republicans and pundits seemed to forget that the justices--all of whom were called “activist justices” by the Bush administration--are sitting on the bench to adhere to the rule of law. The Justices  job is not to make popular or political decisions, but to base their rulings strictly on the lawfulness of the U.S. Constitution. They are not elected to office, therefore, they do not have to worry about being popular with a critical populace.

And yet, that hasn't stopped conservatives from calling Justice Roberts a "traitor" who has committed  "treason" against the United States for ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act. Angry conservatives, media and pundits are accusing him of ignoring the Constitution to give President Obama a victory. Never mind that uninsured Americans are the true winners.

Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said the uninsured "is not the issue." This is the same political miscreant who vowed to make President Obama a one term president.

Know-it-alls got it wrong from day one when newspapers began speculating which direction the Justices would go. They all said conservative Justices would break the legs of the bill, making sure it cannot stand on its own power. But the bill wound up standing tall. The media and pundits cannot let go, neither can critics, who are questioning the mental health of Chief Justice John Roberts for not siding with his colleagues. 

The media and pundits, all of whom are against the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act, refuse to report the benefits the Act will offer, which will kick into full effect in 2014.  They insist that the majority of “American people” do not want affordable health care! They push slanted polls that suggest the majority of "American people" do not want the health insurance "forced on them" by the government. The media and pundits refuse to clearly explain that health care reform levels the playing field for millions of uninsured men, women, children and disabled citizens who have been discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions.  As it stands, pregnancy is a pre-existing condition. And insurance companies can deny women, or charge then a higher rate than men.

As expected, Republican governors have reared up, ready to deny their constituents affordable health care insurance, despite of it being paid for by the government the first three years. Thereafter, the government will pay a small percentage of the bill. The most vocal Republican governors--Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana,  and Scott Walker of Wisconsin-- have declared that they absolutely will not cooperate. In Texas, my home state, where 25 percent (or 6.2 million) of its citizens are uninsured, Gov. Rick Perry said he will not allow the plan to take root in Texas. Brushing aside the big boy boasting, I am sure these governors will find a way to scam “big government” out of a share of the millions of dollars cooperating states will receive.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ensures hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve and protects every American from the worst insurance company abuses.  This law was also specifically designed to give States the resources and flexibility they need to tailor their approach to their unique needs.  With the uncertainty about the Court’s decision behind us, it’s now time to focus on implementing this law in a smart and non-bureaucratic way that works for the middle class.

Benefits and Protections for the Middle Class: The Affordable Care Act includes numerous provisions to keep health care costs low, promote prevention, and hold insurance companies accountable.  If you’re one of the 250 million Americans who already have health care--whether through private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid --the Affordable Care Act is already making your coverage more secure.

Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your child coverage due to a pre-existing condition, or charge women more than men. Over 86 million Americans have gained from coverage of preventive care free of charge, like mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
    
Nearly 13 million Americans will receive a rebate this summer because their insurance company spent too much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO bonuses. The law has already helped 5.3 million seniors and people with disabilities save an average of over $600 on prescription drugs in the “donut hole” in Medicare coverage.

The law’s provisions to strengthen and protect Medicare by fighting fraud will continue. The law has helped 6.6 million young adults who have been able to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, including 3.1 million young people who are newly insured.

If you are one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.  If you need care, you will finally have the same opportunity to get quality, affordable coverage as everyone else.

Coverage for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions: A major impact of the Court's decision is that 129 million people with pre-existing conditions will have the security of affordable health coverage.  Starting in 2014, insurance companies can no longer charge you more, carve out benefits, or deny you coverage altogether because you have cancer or diabetes or simply because you are a woman.  To make these protections affordable, people with and without pre-existing conditions should be insured, since everyone at some time needs health care.

Tax Credits for Middle Class Families and Small Businesses: Millions of Americans will soon be eligible for tax credits to ensure that their health insurance is affordable. Under today’s ruling, having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice.  If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable.  

But starting in 2014, if you can afford insurance and you choose not to purchase it, the taxpayers will no longer subsidize your care for free.  The Court’s ruling today allows Congress to hold the projected 1% of Americans who will be able to afford health insurance but will choose not to buy it responsible for that choice.  Many small businesses are already receiving tax credits so they can afford to offer quality health care to their employees.  To date, 360,000 businesses that employ 2 million workers have already benefited from the small business tax cuts in the law.  And once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, about 18 million individuals and families will get tax credits for health insurance coverage averaging about $4,000 apiece.

Support for State Implementation of Affordable Insurance Exchanges: With the uncertainty of the Court decision behind us, we will step up our work with States to implement Affordable Insurance Exchanges. Exchanges are new marketplaces, starting in 2014, that will allow individuals and small businesses to compare and choose private health plans.  Each State will take the lead in designing its own menu of options.  Already, 34 States including the District of Columbia have received 100 percent Federally funded grants to build Exchanges. The use of Exchange grants includes support for activities related to running Exchanges in their start-up year.

States can also implement their own brand of reform through Innovation Waivers starting in 2017.  If States can come up with even better ways of covering people at the same quality and low cost, this law allows them to do so.  The Administration supports bipartisan legislation to allow States to start such Waivers in 2014.


For more information about h0w to apply for ACA, go to whitehouse.gov and click on What Obamacare Means for You

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