Everything you need to know about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) squeaked by in the House of Representatives by a vote of 219 to 212, without any Republican votes. Yesterday, The Supreme Court upheld most of the law in landmark 5-4 decision. Ironically most of the ideas in the bill originated from conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. So it's clear that the those folks who are against the bill, are against it for political reasons and not practical reasons.
Here are 20 facts and figures about the health care reform bill which you should know about:
- Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
- Insurers are now required to provide coverage for non-dependent children up to age 26
- The estimated number of currently uninsured Americans who will get coverage under the bill is 32 Million
- The estimated cost of health care reform over the next 10 years is $940 billion
- The estimated reduction in the deficit from the bill in the next 10 years is $143 billion
- The portion of the $143 billion in deficit reduction that comes from social security payroll taxes that eventually will be paid out in the form of retirement benefits is $53 billion.
- The portion of the $143 billion in deficit reduction that comes from premiums to be collected as part of a new government-run, long-term care program for the elderly is $70 billion. These premiums will eventually be paid out as benefits.
- New health insurance subsidies would be provided to families of four making up to $88,000 a year, or 400% of the federal poverty level
- Under current law, Medicare stops covering drug costs after a plan and beneficiary have spent more than $2,830 on prescription drugs. It starts paying again after an individual’s out-of-pocket expenses exceed $4,550. This is the so-called Doughnut Hole. It will be closed by 2020 as part of the Affordable Care Act
- A 40% Tax would be imposed on insurance companies providing high-end so-called "Cadillac" health plans which cost more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. The tax is set to begin in 2018.
- A 3.8% Medicare surcharge would be imposed on investment income for individuals making over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000. This tax increase is estimated to bring in $210 billion between 2013 and 2019.
- Starting in 2016, individuals would be required to purchase coverage or face a fine of up to $695 or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater. The plan includes a hardship exemption for poorer Americans. The act proposed this fine under the Commerce Clause. The Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for Congress to levy this fine under the Commerce Clause, but could levy a tax doing exactly the same thing under their ability to tax and spend.
- Companies with more than 50 employeeswill have to pay a fee of $2,000 per worker if the company does not provide coverage and any of that company’s workers receives federal health care subsidies. The first 30 workers would be subtracted from the payment calculation.
- Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate would be increased by 0.9 percent, to 2.35 percent.
- The amount drug manufacturers would pay the US between 2011 and 2019 is $16 billion.
- The amount that health insurers would pay is $47 billion (over the same period).
- Medical device manufacturers would pay a 2.9% excise tax on the sale of any of their products starting January 1, 2013
- Health care reform establishes a tax of 10 percent on indoor tanning services. This would raise $2.7 billion between 2010 and 2019. As fare as we know, getting a tan outside is still free. Time to get your tan the natural way (I'm talking to you John Boehner).
- Government payments to Medicare Advantage would be reduced by $132 billion over the next 10 years.
- The maximum amount you can set aside pre-tax for health care costs in a flexible spending account will be reduced from $5,000 to $2,500.
I bet you didn't know all that. Most people are so focused on the individual mandate that they don't even realize everything else that's in the bill.
Share your thought? Got an opinion on the health care bill?
(source: Highlights of health care compromise bill — CNN.com)