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ObamaCare: What you should know

Last Updated:2018-Nov-15
Principal Writer:Barry Shatzman

Issue Sections

Understanding The Issue
Court Cases
Issue Status
What You Can Do
More Information
The Rumor Mill

Reported News

Health Care Policy

Related Bills

Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act

2010 (HR-3590)

Related Court Cases

(2018) Texas v. United States
(2015) King v. Burwell
(2014) Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
(2012) NFIB v. Sebelius


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Is this socialized medicine?

Some critics of ObamaCare have labeled it socialism, or socialized medicine.

We will not discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of socialism here. What we will say is that the law does not fall under the definition of socialism.

Under a socialized system health care providers would be employed by the government, and the government would own all of the health care facilities - including hospitals.

This clearly is not the case with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act...

o Doctors and other providers either are independent businesses or work for private health care companies.

o Most hospitals and other facilities are privately owned.

o Prescription drugs are manufactured and sold by private corporations.

o Insurance is provided by insurance companies - either explicitly for-profit or requiring sufficient income to pay directors very high salaries and bonuses.

Is this a "government takeover" of health care?

Some critics of ObamaCare have labeled it a "government takeover" of our health care system.

The requirements of the law are designed to protect the interests of Americans who could suffer severe financial hardship in the event of a major illness or injury to themselves or a family member.

Under the ObamaCare...

o The primary Doctor-Patient relationship is untouched. Health insurance plans simply must cover more things, such as colonoscopies.

o Insurance companies must spend a greater percentage of premiums they receive on providing care, rather than on marketing and executive bonuses.

The law contains no provisions that would restrict the type of care you would receive.

For more, read the analysis.

Are you paying more under Obamacare?

For some people, the cost of health care insurance has increased under ObamaCare.

They most likely are people with incomes greater than four times the federal poverty level who buy their own insurance. Even they, however, can benefit from the law if they have a medical need that is more fully covered under a new policy.

Those who earn less may see the list price of their premiums increase. However, subsidies (if they earn less than 4 times the federal poverty level) likely will bring their cost to less than what they previously were paying. The best measurement of this is your own situation.

Those who previously were uninsured (and who earn more than the federal poverty level) need to purchase insurance or pay a tax penalty. Since they would pay nothing without insurance, they will be paying more by definition. Of course, those who choose to buy insurance will be covered in case they become sick or injured.
Note: As previously mentioned, the tax penalty was eliminated for 2019

Lastly, it is insurance companies that set rates. Prior to ObamaCare, rates were increasing much faster than the cost of living. ObamaCare created measures to reduce the rate of increasing insurance costs - such as requiring that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of the money they receive on actual health care. Rate increases of more than 10 percent require federal approval.

Are Cost-Sharing Subsidies handouts to insurance companies?

Cost-Sharing Reduction Subsidies reduce out-of-pocket expenses for those with incomes lower than 2.5 times the federal poverty level.

Essentially, the insurance company pays more than the specific policy requires them to. In turn, the federal government reimburses the insurance company.

In other words, this benefit for low-income earners is paid for by the government - with insurance companies implementing it. Insurance companies make no additional profit from this benefit.

The website didn't even work

The federal and several health care exchange websites got off to a rocky start - in some cases not working at all.

It is important to keep in mind that the websites simply are doorways to view and purchase insurance policies available under ObamaCare. They have no impact in the merits of the law itself.

A good explanation of this came (inadvertently) from Sen. Mitch McConnell during his 2014 re-election campaign. McConnell argued that he would support keeping his state's exchange, though he hoped to repeal the law. However, this would render the website worthless, as its only function is to provide access to insurance policies provided under the law.

The exchange websites now have been stable for years.

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