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Obamacare and the Election

Obamacare and changes expected in Healthcare after election

In March 2010, The United States Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, more often termed “Obamacare,” which is a comprehensive health care reform law. But what does the election mean for this healthcare legislation and what can we expect now that President Obama has been elected for a second term?

Opponents of the proposed healthcare had hoped that Mitt Romney would be elected and enough Republican and Democratic Senators would work together to potentially roll back this legislation. Conservatives also lost their last legal challenge in the spring of 2012 when the Supreme Court, in an unexpected move, ruled that the law was constitutional.

Liberals, many of whom support this massive entitlement program, can now rest easy that the provisions, many of which are in the process of being implemented, will continue.

The Affordable Care Act will not be fully implemented until 2014, but certain policies have already begun: young adults have been allowed to continue to use their parents’ insurance policies and Medicare has begun to give seniors rebates through their prescription programs.

States have also begun considering changes that will need to be done to fully implement the law. The law, which has been confusing, is still in the process of being fully fleshed out, and regulations need to be outlined which will clearly identity what expenses will be insured and what healthcare services will be covered under the new legislation.

Some of the decision making will happen at the state level. Governors and states will have some leeway to decide how to expand Medicaid eligibility within their state or to opt-out, but under the Affordable Care Act the state is required to offer Medicaid to individuals who make less than 138 percent of the poverty line — just over $30,000 for a family of four.

The Federal government will help states cover the cost for three years under the Affordable Care Act and at a lower percentage thereafter, but for states like Texas, who have high number of Medicaid eligible persons, the state would likely face $27 billion in additional costs through 2023 under Affordable Care Act. Texas Governor Rick Perry says he won’t be party to “bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution”

States also will have the ability to set up their own “health insurance marketplaces to regulate individual and small business health plans.” States that do not establish such exchanges may open the door for the Federal Government to expand their control of medical care within the state.

How are Republicans dealing with the shock of the election and their battle to repeal the Obamacare law?

House Speaker Johan Boehner suggested in a recent Tweet that House Republicans would not “entertain repeated votes to repeal the nation’s new health care law, as happened this past session of Congress.” He acknowledges that since Romney did not win, Obamacare is now the “the law of the land.” Although many Republicans would argue that the healthcare reform law will cost America jobs and will continue to threaten our health care system.
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