The Key Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (colloquially known as “Obamacare”) constituted one of the most radical statutes of our generation and represented a significant departure from previous US healthcare policy.

The objective of the legislation was to promote universal healthcare, by making US healthcare insurance more affordable. The core concept was that if every US citizen paid a small sum towards their annual health insurance policy, it would reduce the overall cost of US healthcare insurance to society as a whole.

Under the Act, every American citizen is required by law to maintain health insurance. An online insurance marketplace was created on a US Government website, to enable members of the public to obtain health insurance quotes, compare policies and discover the various different US Government healthcare subsidies available with ease.

In addition, the Act provided greater regulation of US healthcare insurance companies. The Act prevented insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing health conditions and required insurance companies to allow parents to add their adult children to their insurance policies (up to the age of 26). The Act also required insurance companies to spend at least 80% of the premiums collected on funding medical services.

Controversially, the Act imposed a requirement on firms employing more than 50 full-time employees to provide their employees with healthcare insurance. The provision in question has been deeply unpopular with US firms and has been subject to a wealth of criticism. However, despite numerous constitutional challenges to various provisions of the Act, the Act has, in the main, been upheld by a number of Federal Courts, including the US Supreme Court.

The Success of Obamacare

The Act has arguably achieved its objective of increasing healthcare coverage. It is estimated that over 20 million Americans have obtained healthcare insurance as a result of “Obamacare”.

Overall, the Act has increased the financial stability of employees (who no longer have to worry about unanticipated medical bills), increased equality in society and has led to an increase in comprehensive healthcare insurance policies. Moreover, the Act has lowered the federal deficit, due to the nature of its spending and taxation policies. In short, the Act has assisted some of America’s most vulnerable citizens and has lifted many out of healthcare poverty.

Criticism of Obamacare

Critics have contended that the Act poses an undue burden on business, creates additional superfluous expenditure and is contrary to market forces. However, much of the criticism appears to be unfounded. Indeed, jobs in the healthcare sector have risen by 9% since implementation of the Act.

The Future of Obamacare

Sadly, under the Trump administration, the future of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is uncertain. President Trump has already signed an executive order expressing an intent to repeal the Act. Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any plans to replace the scheme.

At Davies Legal, we are unashamedly passionate about the benefits of universal healthcare. We believe the Act was a welcome development and heralded the start of a new era in US healthcare policy. We hope President Trump shares the Obama administration’s commitment to fairness, equality and justice.

 

Published: 7th March 2017

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