Affordable Healthcare Act

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I know I’ve told this story before, but I want you all to know. I mean really really know.

In February of 2010, my younger sister (who was 14 at the time.) was in a really bad accident. She fractured her skull, broke her eye socket, and her brain started to swell rapidly. She was put into a medical coma to keep her brain safe from the swelling and after 36 hours she had to have brain surgery because she developed a blood clot. See that tube at the top of her head in the first picture? That’s going into her head.. 

She spent nearly 6 weeks in the hospital. She had to relearn a lot of basic functions like walking, and changing her clothes. But she trooped through and made it back home. For almost 2 weeks while they kept her sedated, we had no idea what we were going to do, how damaged her brain was. It was the most terrifying time in my life watching my little sister struggle to stay alive.

She was uninsured, but with the help of a great children’s hospital, and donations from all over the world (Hey! Thanks tumblr <3) we were able to keep her initial costs very low. But the graces of good people can only go so far. She needed physical therapy, and regular check ups for a long time after her initial release from the hospital. 

My grandparents gained custody of my little sister, and they tried to get her put on my grandfather’s (private) insurance plan. She was denied because of her accident. Because she had a pre-existing condition. My family is lower middle class, and could not even consider affording the out of pocket costs of the therapy my sister needed 

Within weeks of being denied, the Affordable Healthcare Act went into effect. I encouraged my grandmother to re-apply for my sister to be insured. 

The insurance company had to cover my sister. Because of Obamacare, my little sister was able to go to her therapy. She was able to take the medications she needed, and go to the doctor for regular check ups.  She was able to get the care that she needed, and she is now 17 years old, and has been medically cleared to participate in all the things a kid is supposed to do. She drives. She goes to the beach with her friends, she is going to start college soon. 

I am terrified of how different things could be for my beautiful sister if she wasn’t covered under an insurance plan. I want Obamacare. I want other families standing terrified at the foot of a hospital bed to know the person they love is more than just a profit. More than a number. They are taken care of, and they have a President that is willing to really fight to make sure they can keep that coverage. 

The bottom picture was taken in August of this year. 

Mitt Romney said the White House wasn’t sleeping well last night. You know who else wasn’t sleeping well? The mother with a child who has leukemia. The recent college grad who’s unemployed and thinking about making a doctor’s appointment. The grandfather who isn’t sure if he’ll be able to afford the prescription medication he needs. The middle-class family who isn’t sure if they’ll be able to keep their home if their medical bills broach the lifetime cap “Obamacare” eliminated. What would Romney and his bravado do for each of them? Nothing.
—  Rachel Maddow
Guise, remember that one time, sometime in the past 5 years, that I applied for health coverage and wasn't flat out denied because I'm 'chronically ill' with 'pre-existing conditions'?

Wait…that never happened until a couple hours ago when I went to the ACA marketplace & looked up the evil thing known as Obamacare. After taking about an hour to wait on the servers to have room for me (kinda like an ER waiting room…but on the interwebz) I was allowed to actually see the coverages I’m able to choose from & how much they’ll cost. I was told as of Jan. 1, 2014 I’d be able to have some health coverage.

I breathed a sigh of relief, but suddenly, straight from the pits of Hell, Obama popped up laughing. He was holding the Constitution, a quill, & a needle. He told me I had to sign somewhere on him with blood, then set the Constitution on fire because me being able to get affordable healthcare would forever make me a ‘taker’. No matter what, if I signed up for healthcare, I’d be part of those ‘takers’ for the rest of my life. It wouldn’t matter how hard I worked at any job, or how having any kind of healthcare outside of the ER when I’m half dead would make me more ‘healthy’ in general…I’d have the scarlet ‘O’ forever. It would define me & my place in American society.

I sighed. Not a sigh of resignation, a sigh of hope. I grabbed that needle, poked myself, signed Obama on his Satan tail in lupus drenched blood, & set the Constitution aflame. I’m sick. I’ll always be sick, by no fault of my own. If being willing to pay a couple hundred bucks a month for any kind of health coverage makes me some evil America hating Socialist Satan-loving ‘Taker’…welp, I guess I am.

Any kind of healthcare, even one that is by no means perfect, is better than what I’ve been living with the past 5 years. Sorry, not sorry.

youtube

New vlogbrothers video: Is Obamacare Working? 

(You can click through to read sources and to get more info or just watch Health Care Triage.)

youtube

Obama’s Favorite Pokemon

Recovery, I choose you.

Affordable Care Act vs. Obamacare

"So you disagree with Obamacare?"

"Yes, I do."

"Do you think insurance companies should be able to exclude people with preexisting conditions?"

"No."

"Do you agree that young people should be able to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26?"

"They should be able to, yes."

"Do you agree that companies with 50 or more employees should provide healthcare?"

"I do."

"And so, by that logic, you would be for the Affordable Care Act?"

"Yes."

That exchange is from a segment last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which underscored the recurring idea that if more Americans understood the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, more would be on board.

Read more. [Image: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters]

The Obama administration faced skeptical questioning from a US Supreme Court dominated by conservatives on Tuesday during a tense two-hour showdown over a sweeping healthcare law that has divided Americans.

Today’s graphic takes you inside the hearings giving you all the details on who is involved and the layout of the hearing.

LIVE BLOG: SCOTUS hearing on Affordable Health Care Act
LATEST: High stakes for Obama with healthcare on the line

The refusal of Republican states to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion surely ranks as one of the most sordid acts in recent American history. The cost to the states is tiny, and the help it would bring to the poor is immense. It’s paid for by taxes that residents of these states are going to pay regardless of whether they receive any of the benefits. And yet, merely because it has Obama’s name attached to it, they’ve decided that immiserating millions of poor people is worth it. It’s hard to imagine a decision more depraved.

Conservatives hate it when you accuse them of simply not caring about the poor. Sometimes they have a point. This is not one of those times.

The one huge point that needs to be hammered home again and again and again is that that millions and millions or Americans would already be signed up for insurance or be covered by Medicaid if Republicans would have just accepted the law instead of trying to sabotage it at every turn. The fact that 1.2 million got coverage by the end of last month is miraculous when you consider the roadblocks that were laid in place. The sad fact is that if you currently live in a state that is mostly controlled by Democrats, it is quite easy to get covered. If you are in a state controlled by Republicans, it is much more difficult for you to get coverage for no other reason than the people governing your state, as well as the majority of citizens occupying it, just plain hate the President.

What is scarier than Halloween?
Not having health insurance.

The next open enrollment period starts November 15th!

Learn more by visiting www.healthcare.gov or calling 211 to request info on enrollment assistance.

They can help you figure out if you qualify this year, or update your existing ACA exchange plan. It’s important to get a plan “check-up” if you’re already enrolled, because the exchange has grown and changed a lot in the past year, and you may be able to save money or get better coverage!

(thanks to the Obamacare facebook page for the image)

Alright. We're gonna have a chat about health care.

I know what you’re thinking: why, why, why do we have to talk about health care? But hear me out.

Accidents happen. People get sick. With health insurance, you can get the care you need without the ginormous medical bills. Remember that everyone has to have health insurance now — it’s the law.

Those of you who are under 26 and on your parents insurance (score!) are already benefitting from Obamacare. For the rest of you, getting covered means that you too can get the preventive care you need— like birth control, STD testing, breast cancer screenings and more — for free, without a copay. We know that figuring all of this stuff out can be confusing, but never fear! We’re here to help.

Getting covered is super important, so we’re gonna keep talking about health care (even if it’s not polite). And remember, with our without health insurance, you can always come to Planned Parenthood for the care you need, when you need it.

-Chelsea @ Planned Parenthood

The Affordable Care Act/ACA/Obamacare simplified!

This is a paraphrased version of this post. All of the information provided below is taken from www.healthcare.gov or healthfinder.gov (unless otherwise specified), which are run and maintained by the US federal government. I did not get my information from anywhere else.

Here are the official, full-text versions of the Affordable Care Act and the Reconciliation Act in .pdf format [ACARA] and HTML [ACARA].

[First and foremost: If you do not speak English, you can get this information, as well as help understanding and using the ACA in other languages! EDIT: You have the right to be served in the following languages FREE OF CHARGE:

中文, FrançaisKreyòldeutscheગુજરાતીनि:शुल्‍क한국어, PolskiPortuguês, Pусскии, EspañolTagalogtiếng Việt

(If any of the above looks wonky it’s because I copy-pasted from the website and non-roman scripts are beyond my grasp. Apologies!)]

Okay, here goes!

If you have insurance already:

  • Some policies will change under the ACA. If you have a plan, it must be affordable (the cost per year must be less than 9.5% of your annual income) and be designed to cover 60% of your medical costs (minimum value).
  • If your existing plan is sufficient, it won’t change.
  • If your plan is not sufficient, you will be given a tax credit to help with monthly payments. Here's how to qualify (basically, if your income is 1-4x the poverty rate. Lower income = more credit).

If you do not have insurance:

  • You will be required to sign up for a plan once the law comes into effect or pay an annual fee.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: You will ONLY be fined if you can afford insurance but choose not to sign up for it.
  • Here is a full list of exemptions from the fee. It includes a lot, such as bankruptcy, homelessness, medical bills you can’t pay, caring for an ill/aging/disabled family member, domestic violence, natural or human-caused disaster, recently deceased close family, income is too low, etc.
  • You will also not be fined if you are not “legally present” in the US. Here is how your documentation status will affect your coverage!
  • If you cannot afford insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid! The rules will change in 2014, so if you have been denied before, you may now be eligible! Some states’ rules will not change - the link above has a tool at the bottom of the page that will help you figure out your state’s plan.
  • You can sign up for a plan here! As the name suggests, they are designed to be affordable.

What does the ACA do?

Why are Republicans So Effing Mad?

That’s the basic run-down as far as I understand it. If I’ve left out anything major, provided wrong information, used incorrect or broken links, or anything on here is confusing or unclear, please let me know! My ask box is open and anonymous is enabled.

AGAIN: Here are the official, full-text versions of the Affordable Care Act and the Reconciliation Act in .pdf format [ACA, RA] and HTML [ACA, RA].

Thanks for your patience everyone!

[Edit: Whoops! In consolidating this, I forgot to specify:

*The term ‘women’ is here read as ‘anyone legally designated female or largely female-bodied’. Nonbinary folks, I’m sorry to say I couldn’t find anything on the website regarding treatment for y’all. I haven’t read through the full text of the legislation yet, but anything not covered by federal law will be down to states’ decisions and individual insurance companies as per usual.

Everything else on this list applies to you though! The list of preventative treatments for adults & children is for everyone who signs up for healthcare regardless of gender. I’m working on doing some research for trans* and non-binary folks’ healthcare, but it’ll take a while. Sorry friends!]

Watch on huffingtonpost.tumblr.com

Both CNN and Fox News incorrectly reported that the court had shot down Obamacare, with CNN providing a full seven minutes of on-air analysis before realizing their error.

To Jon Stewart’s mind, the collective flub is just the product of media outlets focusing too much on being “today’s grand champion of news-firstiness” instead of, you know, getting the facts right. So on Thursday night’s “Daily Show,” he took the networks to task.

Jon Stewart Mocks CNN, Fox News For Incorrect Supreme Court Reporting

The Democrat's Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular (So Why Did We Enact the Republican Version and Why Are They So Upset?)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Republicans will seek to delay a requirement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty. ”With so many unanswered questions and the problems arising around this rollout, it doesn’t make any sense to impose this one percent mandate tax on the American people.”

While Republicans plot new ways to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, it’s easy to forget that for years they’ve been arguing that any comprehensive health insurance system be designed exactly like the one that officially began October 1st, glitches and all.

For as many years Democrats tried to graft healthcare onto Social Security and Medicare, and pay for it through the payroll tax. But Republicans countered that any system must be based on private insurance and paid for with a combination of subsidies for low-income purchasers and a requirement that the younger and healthier sign up.

Not surprisingly, private health insurers cheered on the Republicans while doing whatever they could to block Democrats from creating a public insurance system.

In February 1974, Republican President Richard Nixon proposed, in essence, today’s Affordable Care Act. Under Nixon’s plan all but the smallest employers would provide insurance to their workers or pay a penalty, an expanded Medicaid-type program would insure the poor, and subsidies would be provided to low-income individuals and small employers. Sound familiar?

Private insurers were delighted with the Nixon plan but Democrats preferred a system based on Social Security and Medicare, and the two sides failed to agree.

Thirty years later a Republican governor, Mitt Romney, made Nixon’s plan the law in Massachusetts. Private insurers couldn’t have been happier although many Democrats in the state had hoped for a public system.

When today’s Republicans rage against the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, it’s useful to recall this was their idea as well.

In 1989, Stuart M. Butler of the conservative Heritage Foundation came up with a plan that would “mandate all households to obtain adequate insurance.”

Insurance companies loved Butler’s plan so much it found its way into several bills introduced by Republican lawmakers in 1993. Among the supporters were senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa (who now oppose the mandate under the Affordable Care Act). Newt Gingrich, who became Speaker of the House in 1995, was also a big proponent.

Romney’s heathcare plan in Massachusetts included the same mandate to purchase private insurance. “We got the idea of an individual mandate from [Newt Gingrich], and [Newt] got it from the Heritage Foundation,” said Romney, who thought the mandate “essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need.” 

Now that the essential Republican plan for healthcare is being implemented nationally, health insurance companies are jubilant.

Last week, after the giant insurer Wellpoint raised its earnings estimates, CEO Joseph Swedish pointed to “the long-term membership growth opportunity through exchanges.” Other major health plans are equally bullish. “The emergence of public exchanges, private exchanges, Medicaid expansions … have the potential to create new opportunities for us to grow and serve in new ways,” UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen J. Hemsley effused.

So why are today’s Republicans so upset with an Act they designed and their patrons adore? Because it’s the signature achievement of the Obama administration.

There’s a deep irony to all this. Had Democrats stuck to the original Democratic vision and built comprehensive health insurance on Social Security and Medicare, it would have been cheaper, simpler, and more widely accepted by the public. And Republicans would be hollering anyway.

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Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.

Insurers have long tried to steer their members away from more expensive brand name drugs, labeling them as “non-preferred” and charging higher co-payments. But according to an editorial published Wednesday in the American Journal of Managed Care, several prominent health plans have taken it a step further, applying that same concept even to generic drugs.

The Affordable Care Act bans insurance companies from discriminating against patients with health problems, but that hasn’t stopped them from seeking new and creative ways to shift costs to consumers.

http://www.propublica.org/article/a-new-way-insurers-are-shifting-costs-to-the-sick