The following post was contributed by Nina Bernice exclusively for publichealthbugle.com. All contents for informational and educational purposes only. The information is not to be substituted for professional advice. Please give credit to Nina Bernice and the Public Health Bugle for any re-posts.
Health Reform Law, What Does The Public Think About It?
By: Nina Bernice
With presidential and a majority Democratic congressional support, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act came into law on 23rd March, 2010. The health reform law’s objective is providing health insurance cover to more than thirty million people. It endeavors to attain this by Medicaid expansion and federal subsidies provisions to assist lower and middle-income earners purchase private medical care insurance. The PPACA is estimated to cost the federal government a total of $940 billion over ten years.
People who fall between 100-400% of the Federal Poverty Level and want their own health insurance on an exchange qualify for subsidies. Eligible insurance buyers will receive premium credits and there is a sliding scale cap for how much they should contribute to their premiums.
The bill also requires everyone to purchase health insurance by 2014 or incur a $ 695 annual penalty. However, low income people have some exemptions from this requirement. The PPACA requires states to expand Medicaid to adults without children, starting in 2014. The Federal Government will cover 100 percent of the costs for newly eligible people through to 2016. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid.
The most contentious issue of the PPACA is the “individual mandate” section. This provision requires that all American(except the low income) purchase health insurance by 2014 or incur a annual penalty. Opponents argue that individual cannot be forced to buy a product that they may not need or use. The Justice Department has respond to this argument by noting that every American will need medical care at one point in their lives. As such no one can choose to be excluded from the health care market. Many Americans expect that the court will find this requirement unconstitutional as it is an inappropriate exercise of federal authority, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking Report.
A prime issue for court consideration on 26th March is determining the merits of the health reform law opponents’ arguments on prohibiting claims until 2014 when the individual mandate in 2014 is expected to take effect. According to the Anti-Injunction Act (AIC), claimants cannot make a claim on tax until the tax has been paid by the claimant. Judges in two federal courts have already determined that the Anti-Injunction Act is applicable in this case. This argument by the federal judges might temporarily exempt the Supreme Court from making a decision about the AIA during this election year.