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Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a federal statute that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.



The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act[1] is a health care law that was passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009 by a 60 - 39 vote and by the House on March 21, 2010 by a 219 - 212 vote after more than a year of heated debate.  This law was amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

The legislation addresses several aspects of health care reform including: health insurance coverage, health insurance exchanges, insurance subsidies for individuals and families, payment for these new proposals, medicare and medicaid reform, individual mandate, employer mandate, and bans illegal immigrant participation from subsidy programs.  New amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were added by the enactment of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act[2]

Initial Changes Under Health Care Reform

Public officials endeavor to implement the following changes through health care reform:[3]

  1. Health insurance coverage will be expanded to over 32 million Americans;
  2. uninsured and self-employed would be able to purchase state-based exchanges with subsidies;
  3. low-income individuals and families wanting to purchase their own insurance will be eligible for subsidies;
  4. closes the medicare prescription drug "donut hole" and decreases medicare spending;
  5. expands medicaid;
  6. insurance companies shall not deny coverage based on preexisting condition;
  7. individual mandate demands everyone to purchase health insurance or face a $695 annual fine;
  8. employers with more than 50 employees should provide health insurance or be fined $2000 per worker annually.

Amendments by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

Amendments made to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

  1. increases the tax credits to buy insurance
  2. lowers the penalty for not buying insurance
  3. provides $1 billion to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to finance the administrative costs of implementing the health insurance reform
  4. closes the Medicare Part D prescription drug "donut hole"
  5. establishes new requirements, to prevent fraud and abuse, for mental health centers providing Medicare partial hospitalization services
  6. increases mandatory funding for community health centers

Other Impacts of Health Care Reform

This national health care reform seeks to cover as many as 45.6 million uninsured Americans and bridge a fragmented health care delivery system. The political objective of this endeavor is to ameliorate the accessibility and affordability of health insurance for millions of individual Americans and small business employers.[4] 

Various studies conducted by insurance companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies reveal differing results regarding the financial impact of health care reform on individual plans and on small employer plans. For links to these studies check under the "further readings" heading below. These studies focus on the overall social impact and fiscal impact on ordinary Americans and their small businesses.

Polls throughout the nation show conflicting results on American sentiments regarding this reform. The CNN poll finds that 45%  of Americans oppose the legislation. Generally, those over the age of 50 oppose the Administration's plan while a those under 50 support it.[5]  Further studying of this poll finds that only 3 in 10 Americans think the president's health care proposals will help their families. Another 44 percent believe the plan largely disregards their health care needs. The USA Today/Gallup poll finds that 49% of 1,005 adult Americans believe this new law will have a positive impact.

The most lauded change implemented by this legislation is the inclusion of Americans with pre-existing conditions. Previously, health insurance companies would refuse to cover those suffering from a pre-existing condition. Such discrimination effectively denied up to 133 million individuals struggling with chronic illness. 


  1. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.111hr3590
  2. http://dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill63.pdf
  3. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20000846-503544.html
  4. http://www.bcbs.com/issues/uninsured/background/patient-protection-affordable-care-act.html
  5. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/08/05/cnn-poll-americans-split-on-obamas-health-care-proposals/?fbid=M0gH86-bkDN

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