The Affordable Care Act


Overview: What is Obamacare?

Obamacare is a bill that focuses on reforming the American health care system. This is accomplished by providing Amercians with access to affordable insurance all while improving quality, regulating the healthcare industry, and reduce spending within the United States.

The Steps Taken To Create The Affordable Care Act

Step One: Recognizing the problem

Before Obamacare many people lacked insurance coverage in the United States. It was seen as a problem that there was 50 million people without insurance coverage, most of the uninsured lived in the South or West, and that 3 in 10 Hispanics were uninsured. The amount of people that were not covered was on the rise. These numbers went from 39 million in 1999 to 50 million in 2010. So to counter that a plan was needed to bring cheap, and easy to obtain healthcare for everybody to have access to. Even before the Affordable Care Act was passed it gained the name “Obamacare” with President Obama being the main force to reform the health industry.

The Main Drivers of Health Care Reform

Step Two: Formulating The Policy

Obamacare has many provisions in it to cover a very wide variety of topics from tanning booths to individual people. President Obama pointed out broad principles and priorities he wanted to have within the healthcare bill and left it to the house and senate to fill in the details. They both then began working on the bill in 2009. A discussion draft was then released as a proposal to health care reform in June 2009. This then led to the creation of the House Bill 3200 and their marked-up versions to then have all three completed versions on the floor of October 2009. Later a reconciliation bill was passed and after hours of debating it got to President Obama and he was eager to sign the bill.

Step Three: Adopting The Policy

After Obamacare was passed it was then upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28th, 2012. The question was if the government could make citizens buy a service. The Supreme court ruled in favor 5­4 for Obamacare. The reasoning was for that they said it is a tax and not a mandate. Part of the bill to enforce it was a penalty for Americans who do not have health insurance. The policy then created was a Social and redistributive policy. It is redistributive because it takes money from the healthy insured people and gives it to the sick.

Step Four: Implementing the Policy

Obamacare has been implemented in an interesting way. The way the U.S Supreme Court described it as a tax. This is because in the IRS on every person’s tax return health insurance should be filed. If it is not seen that the person has had it then they are charged a “tax” typically a percentage of their total income. The point of this law being implemented is so hopefully enough healthy people get health insurance to cover the sick people. There are certain exemptions like Native tribes, religious groups, or people with financial hardships. If a person does not get those exemptions and does not have health insurance they will otherwise have to pay a fine that can be hefty depending on how much money you make. As of 2014 there is no more pre-existing conditions that will be applied to Obamacare.

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Step Five: Evaluating the Policy

How do we know if Obamacare is helping, or if it could even be measured, then how would it? Surprisingly a very large company called Gallup can supply the evidence of what Obamacare is doing: the company interviews around 15,000 Americans about their health each month. Last year Gallup reported a net of 7.26 million Americans have obtained insurance since Fall of last year, 2013. Another claim was that Obamacare will downgrade healthcare spending, but healthcare spending is still growing at an average rate of 4% per year. Although the growth is slowing down as compared to other years. President Obama even once said “Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the cost of health care is now growing at the slowest rate in 50 years,” With these statistics it is up to the individual to decide if Obamacare has been beneficial or not.


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