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What Is The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

So what is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Barack Obama. The following video explains the Affordable Care Act in an easy to understand manner:

You can learn more about the law at HealthCare.gov. If you want to read the actual law itself in its entirety follow this link: Read the Affordable Care Act Law

Affordable Care Act Provisions by Year


- Putting Information for Consumers Online.

- Prohibiting Denying Coverage of Children Based on Pre-Existing Conditions.

- Prohibiting Insurance Companies from Rescinding Coverage.

- Eliminating Lifetime Limits on Insurance Coverage.

- Regulating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage.

- Appealing Insurance Company Decisions.

- Establishing Consumer Assistance Programs in the States.

- Providing Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits.

- Offering Relief for 4 Million Seniors Who Hit the Medicare Prescription Drug "Donut Hole."

- Providing Free Preventive Care.

- Preventing Disease and Illness.

- Cracking Down on Health Care Fraud.

- Providing Access to Insurance for Uninsured Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions.

- Extending Coverage for Young Adults.

- Expanding Coverage for Early Retirees.

- Rebuilding the Primary Care Workforce.

- Holding Insurance Companies Accountable for Unreasonable Rate Hikes.

- Allowing States to Cover More People on Medicaid.

- Increasing Payments for Rural Health Care Providers.

- Strengthening Community Health Centers.


- Offering Prescription Drug Discounts.

- Providing Free Preventive Care for Seniors.

- Improving Health Care Quality and Efficiency.

- Improving Care for Seniors After They Leave the Hospital.

- Introducing New Innovations to Bring Down Costs.

- Increasing Access to Services at Home and in the Community.

- Bringing Down Health Care Premiums.

- Addressing Overpayments to Big Insurance Companies and Strengthening Medicare Advantage.


- Linking Payment to Quality Outcomes.

- Encouraging Integrated Health Systems.

- Reducing Paperwork and Administrative Costs.

- Understanding and Fighting Health Disparities.

- Providing New, Voluntary Options for Long-Term Care Insurance.


- Improving Preventive Health Coverage.

- Expanding Authority to Bundle Payments.

- Increasing Medicaid Payments for Primary Care Doctors.

- Providing Additional Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program.


- Prohibiting Discrimination Due to Pre-Existing Conditions or Gender.

- Eliminating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage.

- Ensuring Coverage for Individuals Participating in Clinical Trials.

- Making Care More Affordable.

- Establishing Health Insurance Exchanges.

- Increasing the Small Business Tax Credit.

- Increasing Access to Medicaid.

- Promoting Individual Responsibility.

- Ensuring Free Choice.


- Paying Physicians Based on Value Not Volume.

History of the Individual Mandate

- In 1989, the Republican conservative group called the "Heritage Foundation" introduced the idea of the "individual mandate" as a free-market alternative to a government sponsored single-payer health care system that was being discussed.

- In 1993, Senate Republicans proposed having an "individual mandate" health care system as an alternative to the Clinton administration's attempt at universal health care reform. Neither plan was passed.

- In 2006, Mitt Romney, then Governor of Massachusetts, passed a law that included an "individual mandate" and a "tax penalty" for anyone who could afford to purchase health insurance and chose NOT to in the State of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts health care law, as of 2012, is still in place.

"With regards to the mandate, the individual responsibility program which I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise from the two houses includes the personal responsibility principle. That is essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone, and getting everybody the health insurance they deserve and need."

- Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney (2006 Press Conference)

- In 2008, Barack Obama, then Senator Barack Obama, actually opposed the idea of an "individual mandate" while running against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

- In 2009, Barack Obama, now President Barack Obama, discovered the only feasible way to control cost and expand coverage to almost every American was by requiring an "individual mandate" as part of the health care reform bill.

- In 2010, President Barack Obama, signed into law the Affordable Care Act; which was modeled after the law passed by the Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney in 2006. Both laws are almost identical and include an "individual mandate" and a "tax penalty" for anyone who can afford to purchase health insurance and chooses NOT to.

- In 2010, several Republican state attorney generals filed a lawsuit, in regards to the Affordable Care Act, calling the "individual mandate" unconstitutional.

- In 2012, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision found the "individual mandate" constitutional under the taxing authority of the Federal government.

Republican Alternative Health Care Plan (a.k.a. Repeal and Replace)

The Republican alternative health care plan to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) consist of 3 main points:

(1.) Tort Reform - They want to put limits on the liabilities medical practitioners and facilities face when they are sued for items mostly related to medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice lawsuits have been a highly exaggerated myth used as an excuse to explain why health insurance premiums keep rising. Many studies have shown that malpractice lawsuits have very little impact on the total cost of health care as a whole.

(2.) Eliminate State Line Health Insurance Laws - They want to allow the purchase of health insurance plans across state lines. Currently you can only purchase health insurance from a health insurance company operating within your own state.

Republicans feel this will increase competition, which they believe will drive down the cost of health insurance. However, many people argue that this will lead to health insurance companies simply moving to the states with the least amount of regulations and requirements, thus leading to a less comprehensive health insurance system.

(3.) High-Risk Insurance Pools - They want to create high-risk insurance pools in each state, that will be subsidized by the federal government, to help individuals with pre-existing conditions get access to health insurance that they normally would not get access to because of their pre-existing conditions.

The problem with this approach is that you are punishing American citizens for becoming sick. You are basically making sick Americans second class citizens by saying they can no longer participate in regular health insurance plans. In addition, these high-risk insurance plans will still be much more expensive than traditional health insurance plans, making them unaffordable to most average citizens.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

Uninsured people are "NOT the issue."

Mitt Romney's Real Views On Health Care

*** Important Debate Update - Mitt Romney's top adviser Eric Fehrnstrom admitted that Mitt Romney lied about the claim he made saying his plan would cover everyone who has a pre-existing condition, and released the following to clarify Mitt Romney's position:

"With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage," said Eric Fehrnstrom, referring to existing laws which require insurance companies to sell coverage to people who already have insurance, or within 90 days of losing their employer coverage.

Pressed by TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws, like Romney's own Massachusetts health care law, that ban insurance companies from discriminating against sick people.

"We'd like to see states do what Massachusetts did," Fehrnstrom said. "In Massachusetts we have a ban on pre-existing conditions."

The biggest problem with the Republican alternative health care plan is that it simply does NOT adequately address the pre-existing conditions issue. American citizens should NOT be punished simply because they have or have had an illness.

The Bottom Line - Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Reality

A poll taken in June 2012, right before the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, stated that only 39% of Americans supported the individual mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

In that same poll 82% favored the Affordable Care Act's provision that bans health insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

The above two poll numbers illustrate the typical problem with most American citizens. All Americans tend to want the best of everything, but they never want to pay for those things.

So here is the truth, you can NOT cover people with pre-existing conditions without either an individual mandate or a universal single-payer health care system. The numbers simply do NOT add up, and both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney know that.

Therefore, if you are an American citizen pushing for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, you have to realize that you are pushing for the return of a health care system that allows you, your family, and your friends to be denied access to health care if you or they ever become seriously ill or have a pre-existing condition.

Any politician who tells you that you can have pre-existing conditions covered without either an individual mandate or a universal single-payer health care system is simply lying to you.