I have spoken to many friends over the last month or so about the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, about the benefits they can get from the new law. There are so many lies and so much misinformation out there regarding the law, it is important to understand the key benefits you get from this historic legislation.
Forget What You Heard About “Obamacare”
The far right has been on a smear campaign since the day this bill became law and has perpetuated many lies. So much that people don’t even really know what it is. Want evidence?
Young People Can Stay on Their Parent’s Insurance
One of the first provisions that went into effect was a ban on insurance companies kicking young people up to 25 years old off of their parents’ insurance plans.
What happened? The percent of uninsured people from 18-25 fell from 48% to 21% from 2010 to 2012. That is a staggering number. The number of uninsured fell by more than 50% from one simple change that even the majority of Republicans support.
The End of Pre-Existing Conditions
The Tea Party said that Obamacare turns the government into a death panel, but that is simply not the case. Today you can find tons of examples of insurance companies turning people down for care.
Today the insurance companies are really acting like death panels. Obamacare says that can’t do that anymore. Stories like this 9 year old boy denied coverage because he had cancer are now a thing of the past.
83% of Americans support this part of the law.
Large Companies Have to Offer Health Insurance to Employees
I spent a few months working at a local restaurant chain, and that was the only time in my life I didn’t have health insurance. That month in between plans was terrifying! I know that all of my old co-workers don’t have to worry anymore.
Any company with 50 or more employees is required by Obamacare to offer employees a health plan. The employer can work with the insurance company to find the best, more affordable option for the company.
If they say they can’t afford it, they should try to run their business better to provide a better life for their staff! You know, the people who rely on the company for a living. And I forgot to mention, 96% of companies with over 50 employees already offer coverage, so only 4% of these companies are impacted.
75% of Americans support this provision of Obamacare.
Small Businesses Get a Tax Credit for Offering a Health Insurance Plan
The government expects large employers to give insurance, but doesn’t have that requirement for smaller companies. However, the law gives small businesses with fewer than 50 employees a big incentive to offer health insurance to their staff: a tax credit.
88% of all Americans and 83% of Republicans think this is a great tax break that will help small businesses and help their employees. It is a win-win.
Tax Breaks for People to Afford Health Insurance
If you are single and make less than $45,000 per year, you qualify for a tax break to help you afford health insurance.
While the most contentious part of Obamacare is the requirement to buy insurance or face a tax penalty, a tax discount for people who make up to 4 times the poverty line is a pretty good way to help people avoid the tax.
Want to calculate if you can get a subsidy, possibly on insurance you are already paying for? Check out this free subsidy calculator.
Even more, Obamacare opens up Medicare and Medicaid to more Americans than ever before. The act is really trying to do what the name says: make healthcare affordable.
76% of Americans, and 61% of Republicans, think these tax breaks are a good thing.
State Insurance Exchanges
Anyone who has taken an economics class knows that less competition leads to higher prices for consumers. That goes for airline tickets, cable TV costs, and health insurance plans.
Under Obamacare, each state has the option to create a new insurance exchange or take part in the new Federal exchange. When insurance companies compete, we all win.
80% of Americans, including 72% of Republicans, support this provision with leads to more competition in the market.
In my home state, Colorado, insurance costs are expected to decline by more than 30%.
On October 1st, the exchanges opened up for enrollment. The new plans go into effect on January 1st, 2014. This is an amazing opportunity for every single American to get world class healthcare.
So Why Do They Fight It?
With all of this great stuff, and clear support from the people, why are the Republicans fighting this great law that will help all Americans get health insurance for the first time? I honestly don’t understand.
One of the biggest Republican strongholds is the South, which also deals with the worst health and poverty in the country. You would think the people who were elected to represent them would be the first to support a law that will help their constituents.
It all comes down to stupid politics. It is time to put petty agendas aside and help every American get the best health care in the world. I, for one, am excited for January 1st when the new policies will go into effect.
Image by Randy Pertiet / flickr