How the Affordable Health Care Act Affects You

Jul 12

How the Affordable Health Care Act Affects You

EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE IN A TIZZY over the health care act, which became law March 23, 2012, and was upheld June 28th, 2012.

Not since I received pre-election emails warning Obama was the antichrist, have I heard such a scattershot of confused and diverse understandings of what is, admittedly, a complicated law.  Now that Roberts’ Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, and the House has completed yet another time-wasting vote to try to repeal it (at $2 million a day, that’s a pretty expensive way to spend their time just to “make a point”) it’s time to sit down and take a look at what it means to the every day people like you and me.

Health and health care makes for a Saturday Salon-worthy topic to explore.  Now that our formerly sick health care system has been broken open (or at least cracked), it is up to us to sit down and talk about what to do next.  It’s a little messy right now, but where there’s a mess, there is opportunity to rebuild something better. We need to guide, revise and reshape our nation’s definitions of health and our ways of achieving it.

The main battle lines of the health care line are drawn between states vs federal rights and polarized political parties.  And we’re all worried about money.  Individual people, when you sit down and talk with them, agree more than they disagree about these issues, once you dig down and discuss the fundamental concepts, human to human, vs repeating Fox news or NPR soundbites.

The most popular features of the bill are:

  • 50% discount for name-brand drugs in the Medicare “donut hole”
  • Expanded coverage for young adults (up to age 26 can be put on parent’s insurance)
  • Small business tax credits
  • Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans

The main question, whether asked sincerely or not, is “Sure we want these, but how are we going to pay for them?”

The health care bill is estimated to cost about $900 billion, but will save $550 billion in Medicare costs alone, NOT from cuts in services, but in reduction of the current 8% per year in costs through better delivery of services.  And of course, people who can afford to will start paying their fair share of the health care system they use.

This site has a detailed list of the dollars and cents-which you will have to decide for yourself is correct:

How the Affordable Health Care Act will be funded.

Dollars and Cents of the Health Care Act

To read some of the counterarguments to the wilder but still commonly heard fears about the health care act, see:

Lies and Distortions of the Health Care Reform Debate on HuffPost

To read details of the law, a timeline of when certain features go into effect, and how to use it, go to:

Time magazine, July 16, 2012 also had a special report summarizing the Affordable Care Act.

Get the facts, stay informed, and make sure your next Saturday Salon includes some meaty questions about health, health care and what you and your family are doing to become and stay healthy at home and in your communities.

Possible conversation topic questions to toss in the hat at your next Saturday Salon:

  • Do you know where your food comes from?
  • Is eating organic a luxury only the wealthy can afford?
  • Have you, do you, or are you planning to have a garden?  Pros?  Cons?  Benefits?  Thoughts?
  • How often and why do you go to your doctor or other health care practitioner?
  • Whose responsibility is health care?
  • Do you want to be kept alive as long as possible, or someone “pull the plug” when you are in pain, or living on machines, not living a quality life, and have no hope of getting better?
  • Do you know how healthy your home, workplace or community is?


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