A Victory for Proponents of the Affordable Care Act

June 26, 2015

Just as Obama’s second term is nearing an end, he was able to gain a ruling from the Supreme Court that government health care subsidies for the poor and middle class people were legal. The Obama Administration took steps to receive a ruling from the Supreme Court that these subsidies were legal so that the Affordable Care Act would remain even after his term as president of the United States had ended.

Needless to say, this infuriated the Republicans who took a stand against the Affordable Care Act at its inception. They argue that in the long run, the cost of health care would increase for the poor and middle class people and would render them unable to afford health care. These subsidies would be available for all applicants for health insurance regardless of whether they are purchasing in a state providing a state sponsored insurance marketplace or a state which opted not to form am insurance exchange.

If the Republicans want this decision overruled, it is going to take an amendment to the Constitution. The Republicans were not pleased with the Supreme Court ruling and accused the supreme court judges of “circumventing Congress and rewriting bad laws.” The Republicans have vowed to work on changing this recent ruling during the next election.

This is an important victory for poor and middle class families who do not have health insurance and for those who feared they would lose their health coverage after President Obama left office. An estimated six million people were at risk of losing their health insurance coverage.

Before Obamacare was enacted, fifty-seven percent of private insurance enrollees were uninsured. The states with the highest rates of uninsured enrollees were: Texas, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, Louisiana, all with over twenty percent of their enrollees without health insurance. Despite the enactment of Obamacare, several states have not instituted an insurance exchange and have not expanded their Medicaid program. The states in red in the chart below have not expanded their Medicaid program.

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From Wallethub


An Increase in Americans Applying for Affordable Health Care

November 29, 2014

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The Obama administration reports that three time as many people applied for health coverage on-line which resulted in more applicants than had applied in November and December of 2013.

Many of the new applicants this year were people who had lost their coverage due to non-payment of premium or had no coverage at all. Others had simply renewed their coverage. In the case of new people enrolling in health care coverage for the first time since the enactment of Obamacare, most of them may have found that they will be paying more in deductibles and co-payments. As more come into the system, more will be turning to voluntary benefits as a way to defray their costs.

Some private insurance companies offer voluntary benefits which pay lump sums of money for hospital visits and other procedures such as surgery and diagnostic testing to help defray the costs of co-payments, deductibles, rent, mortgage, and utilities. These amounts are offered over and above the actual charges incurred for these visits. Employees also receive life insurance and disability coverage, which they may not have had at their companies.

There were many problems with the implementation of Obamacare last year, as many people experienced delays in the processing of their applications. There were many problems with the computers which had to be resolved. Additionally, the climate under which the former health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius had to operate, was difficult because of the opposition of many of the members of Congress to Obamacare.

Consequently, Sylvia Matthews Burwell was appointed to replace Kathleen Sebelius when she resigned in June 2014. Ms. Burwell has already implemented weekly reporting on the enrollments, as opposed to monthly. She has been hailed as an extremely skilled negotiator and knowledgeable about the health care system.

Ms. Burwell will be facing many challenges with the states of Texas and Florida who have not offered Medicaid to more of their residents who need them, nor have they set up health exchanges for their states. Her background and experience in working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other non-profit agencies will enable her to overcome many of the challenges she will face in this position.

In conclusion, it appears that more people who need health coverage are gaining access to a system which will enable them to secure the needed coverage.


Catching the Wave – Adjusting to the Health Care Reform

October 14, 2013

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Business owners are facing tough decisions on whether they should offer health care benefits to their employees.  Business owners with under 50 employees are not obligated to offer health care benefits to their employees under the new Health care reform.  However, there is an incentive if they do. 

Any business owner with under twenty-five employees is now eligible for a thirty-five percent tax credit for 2013 and fifty percent for 2014.  It would be advisable for business owners to contact their accountants for the tax consequences.

This would be a good incentive for business owners to offer the health care benefits to their employees, however, most say they cannot afford it.  In that case, the employee would be able to shop for health insurance on the exchange.  If the employee cannot afford it, they would be eligible for a subsidy from the federal government if their income falls within four times the poverty level or $44,000.

If the employee still cannot afford the insurance premium after the subsidy, they can apply for Medicaid.  However, they must fall within the income guidelines in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Studies have shown that employees become more loyal, productive, and experience job satisfaction when they receive a comprehensive benefits package from their employer.  In return, they offer better customer service, take fewer days off, work more efficiently, tend not to complain as much, discover ways of being more effective, and are more enthusiastic about their work.

Since Massachusetts implemented the health care reform seven years ago, economic growth has increased and unemployment is still low.  Additionally, 90% of the people have health care and more are practicing preventive measures in their health.   Small business owners can now acquire health insurance for their families while they are building their businesses.  Because much of the overhead costs of selling insurance, premiums are lower.

In conclusion, the health care reform will help to improve employee morale and health and will help business owners to grow their businesses.