The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is called that for a reason. Otherwise known as Obamacare, it protects patients from HMOs’ common abusive tactics and makes health insurance more affordable. Here are some examples.
1. Health insurance for everyone
Everyone will have access to health care coverage, including people who don’t work full-time jobs that provide benefits. 30 million people who had no medical insurance before Obamacare will now get the care they need at rates they can afford.
If you don’t want insurance, you will pay a tax to cover what the rest of us will have to shell out when you show up at the emergency room.
2. No more worrying about pre-existing conditions
It used to be that people who had an illness and were not previously insured couldn’t get coverage for their disease. When they signed up for new health insurance, it covered things that might theoretically happen, but not the malady the individual actually had.
No longer. Once it is fully implemented, Obamacare will forbid health insurers from refusing to cover pre-existing conditions. If you have diabetes when you sign up for health insurance, that insurance must cover your diabetes.
This is a big deal. 1 in 2 Americans have a pre-existing condition.
Medical insurers have a shocking habit of canceling coverage as soon as people need it. Got cancer? Your HMO suddenly bids you adieu. The documentary “Sicko” tells the stories of many Americans whose finances and lives were destroyed when their insurers pulled this cold-hearted trick. Around 60% of American bankruptcies are related to medical expenses.
Obamacare says “quit it” to the companies that profit off your health but abandon you when you get sick. If an illness suddenly makes you expensive to insure, your health care plan has to stay the course and pay for treatment. Which, after all, is what you pay them to do.
4. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans
Parents can include kids up to 26 years old on their own health insurance. Have you heard how much trouble young adults are having finding work these days? Without full-time jobs they usually have no access to affordable health care. Voila, problem solved.
5. Free preventive care
Colonoscopies are one of the most frequently used preventative medical tests. Under Obamacare, patients won’t pay one red cent for them and for other preventive care.
6. Free well-woman doctor visits
Women, going in for your regular check-up with the gynecologist — Pap smear, mammogram and all that stuff? It’s still no fun, but at least now it’s free.
Since men don’t have to get these kinds of check-ups, charging for them is one of the many reasons being female is more expensive. Obamacare to the rescue.
(If your insurance company gives you any hassles about this, call the National Women’s Law Center hotline at 1-866-PILL4US.)
7. Free birth control
No more co-payment or other out-of-pocket costs for some methods of birth control. Free options will be available in every one of the five categories of birth control: “barrier methods, hormonal methods, implanted devices, emergency contraception and permanent methods.” (Again, if your insurance company gives you any hassles about this, call 1-866-PILL4US.)
8. You will probably save money
The average American will save money thanks to Obamacare.
9. The country will save money
Obamacare will reduce the national deficit by two hundred billion dollars in its first ten years.
10. The Medicare donut hole is closing
Seniors on Medicare are intimately familiar with the infamous donut hole, in which they may pay up to $4,550 out of pocket for prescription medication. If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, no need to worry your pretty little head over it: Obamacare will seal up the hole by 2020 so you will never have to figure it out.
Obamacare isn’t perfect from a progressive perspective. It was designed by The Heritage Foundation, one of the most conservative thinktanks in the U.S., and it was based on their worship of a free-market economy (making it all the more surreal that Republicans are screaming themselves hoarse about how awful it is). It won’t make the United States a health care utopia, but it will make things much, much better for millions of people.
House Republicans want to turn Medicare into a voucher program while also giving billionaires a tax break at the same time. Sign this petition to ensure Medicare continues for all Americans.
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