By: Lamar Greene
The Affordable Care Act was rolled out over the course of several years, from 2010 to 2014. A new Patient’s Bill of Rights was put into place to protect Americans from the worst abuses of health insurance companies in 2010, in addition to the new availability of free preventive services. In 2011, persons receiving Medicare began receiving a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs that were previously available through Medicare. Accountable care organizations began helping doctors and health care providers work together to deliver higher quality care in 2012, and open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace began on October 1st, 2013. Finally, in 2014 the Medicaid Program was expanded and the Health Insurance Marketplace was expanded.
One aspect of the proposed legislation was reducing any penalties to $0 for Applicable Large Employers who do not provide adequate and affordable insurance options to their full-time employees. The proposed bill would not have repealed individual mandate but the penalty would have been reduced to $0 for those who do not have insurance for themselves and their dependents. This bill would have also repealed the Affordable Care Act taxes on prescription drugs, the health insurance tax, and the medical device tax among other key features. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would have meant 15 million more people would be uninsured next year than under the Affordable Care Act, with 16 million more in 2026.
Although the Affordable Care Act is still in place for now, the Trump Administration has made several changes that effect the way the Affordable Care Act functions. Spending for advertising the open enrollment period, when people enroll in affordable health insurance plans, has been cut by 90 percent. Funding for navigators, the people who help others sign up for coverage, has been cut by 41 percent. In addition to funding for different parts of the Affordable Care Act being greatly reduced, the actual enrollment period is half the time that it was under the Obama Administration. This year, open enrollment will take place from November 1st to December 15th. The Trump Administration justified the budget cuts to for the Affordable Care Act by saying that the decision was basing advertising on previous effectiveness and performance, while the Democrats and other supports of the Affordable Care Act deemed the act as sabotage. We may not know what is in the future for our nation’s healthcare system, but it would seem that significant change is underway.
- Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events. (2014, August 27). Key Features of the Affordable Care Act by Year. Retrieved September 24, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK241401/