5 Ways Obamacare Will Change Your Healthcare
In the two years since it was signed into law, the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act has generated literally millions of news reports.
Google search for “Obamacare” turns up 25.7 million hits. That’s not quite
Justin Bieber territory – 679 million– but still speaks to the level of
attention the law has received.
Yet, after all this time – and all those
words – many Americans are still wondering: What’s in it for me and how will it
change my healthcare?
Recently, I authored the Obamacare Survival Guide —
the first book offering consumers, business people, Seniors, medical
professionals, and others — a practical understanding of the massive new
The answers, of course, are complex and depend
on who you are – a college student, senior on Medicare, uninsured,
self-employed, have a pre-existing health condition, or get insurance through
But one thing is certain: Obamacare will restructure the
way healthcare is delivered in significant ways we will all feel. And regardless
of your political views – whether you like what the law sets out to door believe
it is the wrong way to go – change is coming your way.
In fact, it’s
already begun, with many provisions already in place, or soon to roll out, in
the following five key ways that will alter healthcare for large blocs of
1. Medicare Changes
campaign has turned Medicare into a political football, with Democrats and
Republicans each accusing the other side of seeking to cut or gut the federal
government’s health insurance program for Americans age 65 and older and the
Under Obamacare, Medicare reductions would add up to $716
billion in 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
(Interestingly, that figure is identical to Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget proposal.
Healthcare experts believe those reductions will largely leave Medicare
unchanged for Americans 55 and older. But the real changes come in 2022.
Predictably perhaps, Republicans and Democrats have different ideas about how to
preserve Medicare down the road.)
Those reductions in reimbursement to
hospitals, insurers and the Medicare Advantage program (by about $68 less per
month, according to the Congressional Budget Office) could lead to cuts in
benefits and services for some seniors, even though Obamacare does not specify
what they might be.
Medicare changes also close the so-called “donut
hole” in drug coverage, giving seniors a break on their out-of-pocket costs for
medications. But other changes could occur to Medicare as a result of the new
healthcare law that could affect their care and costs.
higher-income earners — individuals earning $85,000 or higher, couples exceeding
$170,000 — will receive reduced subsidies to pay for drugs. Obamacare also
raises Medicaid payment rates to primary care doctors to Medicare levels in
2014, which some argue could dilute or compromise the level of care given
Obamacare also creates a panel of experts, known as the
Independent Payment Advisory Board, empowered to force Medicare cuts if costs
rise beyond certain levels and Congress fails to act. Although the law
explicitly prohibits the board from rationing care, shifting costs to retirees,
restricting benefits or raising the Medicare eligibility age, critics believe
the IPAB could recommend changes that could lead to rationing.
has yet to be named, and its members would ultimately have to be confirmed by
2. Price Controls
limit soaring health costs for healthcare for most Americans? It’s too early to
say for sure. But it seems unlikely, at least in the short run.
aims to cover uninsured Americans by expanding Medicaid and the “individual
mandate” requiring everyone to have insurance or pay a tax. Those moves could
hold down healthcare costs over time because many of the 37 million uninsured
Americans seek care through hospital ERs for dire problems that are more costly
to treat than prevent or manage (such as heart attacks, infections and
complications from chronic conditions).
Costs are now borne by taxpayers
and people with insurance.
ObamaCare proponents have argued people who
have insurance are more likely to work with their doctors to manage chronic
conditions – such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer – in ways that are less
expensive up front than hospital care and may help head off serious problems
down the road.
But since the law’s signing in 2010, costs and premiums
have been increasing. According to the non-partisan Health Care Cost Institute,
U.S. healthcare spending grew at a faster pace last year than in the previous
two years, when increases in costs actually slowed.
Health insurers have
also projected premiums will continue to rise – at least 2-3 percent per year–
and nothing in the law bars insurance companies from passing along those
increases to policy holders.
But the true acid test may be found in
Massachusetts. Under the RomneyCare plan, the template for Obama are signed into
law in 2006, the number of uninsured residents dropped to the lowest level in
the country (3 percent), but insurance premiums have risen to the highest cost
of any state in the nation for a family of four, according to the Commonwealth
3. Doctor Practices
One unanswered question
about ObamaCare that could affect consumers: Will the law drive changes in
doctor practices that could worsen physician shortages?
Polls of doctors
suggest the answer may be yes. A survey of 2,400 physicians conducted in 2010
for the Physicians Foundation found 40 percent would “retire, seek a
non-clinical job in health care or seek a job unrelated to health care” during
the next three years. Investors Business Daily predicted as many as 360,000
physicians could leave the profession, based on a 2009 forecast survey of 1,300
ACA supporters have argued the survey is not a true measurement
of physician sentiment, since it came at the height of national debate over
But the truth is no one can predict how the medical profession
may respond to the coming changes. One thing is clear, however: the nation is
already experiencing a doctor shortage, with the Associate of American Medical
Colleges estimating by 2015 the nation will need 60,000 more doctors than the
U.S. is expected to have. Adding another 37 million uninsured Americans to
insurance rolls and Medicaid, as Obamacare aims to do, is likely to add to the
problems caused by existing doctor shortages.
Some impacts of the new law are unpredictable simply
because many provisions have yet to be written and Congress must still authorize
funding for some of them.
For instance, federal health officials have yet
to identify “essential health benefits” that insurers will be required to
provide. Although experts expect those benefits will be comparable to what is
now offered through typical employer-based health plans (that now cover about
150 million Americans), the details have not been determined.It’s also unclear
how effectively the states – or federal government – will be in expanding
Medicaid and creating new “healthcare exchanges” designed to allow millions to
purchase affordable, high-quality individual plans.
As we saw with the
controversy over just one early provision of ObamaCare — the question of
insurance coverage for contraception, which the Catholic Church and others
vehemently opposed — many similarly contentious measures may be similarly
difficult to resolve and implement.
5. Independent Payment
One controversial aspect of Obamacare involves
the creation of a presidential commission called the Independent Payment
Advisory Board (IPAB). This board of 15 experts – chosen by the president and
approved by the Senate – will be empowered to cut Medicare spending and make
other healthcare decisions independently, unless counteracted by a three-fifths
“super-majority” vote in Congress.
The driving idea behind the IPAB’s
creation is that the board would be able to make tough budgetary decisions that
might be politically difficult for Congress or the president to implement (such
as additional Medicare reductions).But because the IPAB won’t be elected,
critics argue the board could wield enormous powers and increase government
control over of the nation’s health care system.
As is true with many
aspects of Obamacare, the devil will be in the details of the law’s
implementation. And, like the IPAB itself, Obamacare is very much a work in
The true test of the law’s viability will likely come in 2014,
when Obamacare’s most significant and costly provisions are implemented –
including the individual mandate that all Americans have insurance, the
expansion of Medicaid, and the creation of the new state “healthcare exchanges”
designed to give individuals without insurance through their employers or
government programs the ability to choose affordable insurance plans with
guaranteed “essential health benefits.”
I am Obama and here is the truth since I stole the presidency in 2008:
Unemployment has risen from 7.8% to over 15% since Obama took office.
The real U6 unemployment rate is approximately 19%.
National debt has risen from $10.7 Trillion to over $15.3 Trillion – Jan 2009- Mar 2012 US Treasury Dept.
Obama has accumulated over $ 5 trillion dollars in debt in 4 years.
Gas prices have risen from $1.84/gallon to over $3.79/gallon – Jan 2009 to Mar 2012 ABC News
Foreclosure total 7.7 Million since Obama stole office – Jan 2009-March 2012, Realty Trac
One in 5 Homes are still under water.
A record # 46.2 Million Americans in poverty – Sept 2011 US Census Bureau
Record # 46.1 Million Americans receive food stamps- Feb 2012 Dept of Agriculture
Obama stated Water Boarding is Torture, now I am taking credit for killing Osama when waterboarding and other interogating techniques were used to obtain information to find Osama. Those techniques were used when George Bush was President but not under my watch. I killed Osama not Bush!
Obama is a Muslim, hates America, the U.S. Constitution and was born in Kenya.
Obama is a Socialist
According to The Wall Street Journal, when you add up what the government spends on entitlement programs – like unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security – those payments make up 66% of the federal budget!
In other words, well OVER HALF the money that the government spends is in the form of handouts… money that is taken from one segment of the population and redistributed to another.
But that’s not the whole story…
In fact, according to the Heritage Foundation, 152 million Americans – 49.5% of the population – paid NO federal income tax in 2009!
That means half the population is living off the other half!
How’s That Hope and Change nonsense working for you America?
Wake up America before it is too late. BO Does not work for America!
Vote for BO once and you were an idiot. Vote for him twice and you are a traitor to America.
Stop Lying to America BO, you are a Muslim and Homo.