Posts Tagged ‘Health Care Reform’

Election is a Win for Obama’s Health Care Changes

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

One thing is abundantly clear after the Presidential election yesterday; Americans are divided politically.  Whether you are in the small majority of Americans happy with President Obama’s re-election or one of those who were hoping for a Romney win, you will likely be affected by changes in health insurance.  This win by Obama just about cements his health care reform changes, some of which have already taken effect.  Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage because of their health problems.  Also, many more young adults are insured now because they can stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.

In the CNN Money article, “Obama’s re-election secures health care reform,” Emily Jane Fox says that while most of the changes will take place in 2014, some insurance changes will happen next year as well.  Even without the majority of the changes being in effect, the number of uninsured Americans decreased this year for the first time in four years.  Americans who are 19 to 25 and often uninsured are happy about the changes as well because 3.1 million more of them now have insurance.  The individual insurance mandate requiring most Americans to carry insurance doesn’t go into effect until 2014, but the following changes will happen next year.

In order to help pay for federal subsidies that lower and middle class Americans will receive to help pay for their health insurance, two Medicare taxes are going to start in 2013.  There will be a new surtax on wage income for people making more than $200,000 a year or couples making more than $250,000 a year.  Investors will also start getting charged a 3.8% tax on part of their capital gains and dividends.  The surtax will affect around 2.4% of Americans, or 4 million people at first.  That number is estimated to be 8.3 million, or 4.6% of households by 2022.  A $2,500 limit will be imposed on workers’ tax-deductible contributions to flexible savings accounts.  Employers will be required to offer health insurance when they have more than 50 employees who work for them full-time.  This last item will be required by 2014 and fines will apply if it isn’t adhered to.

Whether you supported President Obama or not, his health care changes are here to stay.  Some Americans will see very positive outcomes from their health insurance changing, while others are unhappy about the added taxes and the required health insurance coverage.  We’ll continue to follow this story as the mandates take effect.

Health Insurance Reform Debate Surges On

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

As was expected by Democrats and the Supreme Court, Republicans are still fighting against the Affordable Care Act, even after it was upheld as being constitutional.  According to Fox News’ “House GOP poised to hold vote on repeal of ObamaCare after Supreme Court ruling,” Cristina Marcos says that there should be a vote today about repealing the Affordable Care Act.  This is the 31st time that Republicans have held a vote hoping to repeal all or some portion of President Obama’s health care reform.  This is the 2nd time Republicans have tried to repeal the entire law; the other 29 votes since 2011 have been against specific parts of the reform.  Since the Senate is controlled by Democrats and President Obama certainly won’t sign any repeal of his health insurance, is this a good use of government time?

While Democrats are accusing Republicans of wasting time fighting this same fight over and over, Republicans argue that just because the Supreme Court said the Affordable Care Act was constitutional doesn’t mean that it is good for Americans.  Republicans say they will continue to fight against health care reform with which they disagree.  Five hours of floor debate was allotted for this discussion by the House Rules Committee on Monday.  The lawmakers used four and a half hours of their discussion on Tuesday and finished the rest today.  Republicans say that they will continue fighting against what is sometimes known as ObamaCare until they have the majority.  Democrats think that the time allotted for arguing over this same debate would be better spent talking about jobs or other important issues working right now because they are happy with the Affordable Care Act.

Part of Health Care Reform Down the Drain

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

The CLASS Act, part of the health care law passed last year, has just been suspended.  Tom Curry of MSNBC.com’s article “Obama administration halts part of health care law,” says that the decision is seen as controversial to some Republicans.  The CLASS Act was supposed to be a big part of keeping the costs associated with the health care law under control because people would be paying into it immediately, but would not be withdrawing money until at least 2016.  It may have been a big reason that the bill was passed in the first place, but Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius says that she doesn’t foresee any way to make the CLASS Act work.

CLASS is short for Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, and was supposed to be a long term care insurance program.  It was still part of the health care bill even though Medicare’s chief actuary raised a red flag about the act in April of 2010.  He said that it had an extremely high risk of failure because the sickest people would likely be the ones to sign up for it and the system would be drained.  So even though the Congressional Budget Office said that the CLASS Act would reduce federal deficits by $86 billion in 10 years, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius has found that the program is just not sustainable.

Aultcare Health Insurance Keeps Increases Low

Friday, November 20th, 2009

In “Soaring health care premiums hurting employers” by Robert Wang of the Canton Repository, Wang highlights an issue many employers are struggling with.  Health care costs are the second highest business expense next to payroll for many employers.  They have to pass some of the costs onto their employees who now have higher deductibles, co-pays and caps on out-of-pocket expenses.  The unfortunate consequences are that employees have delayed seeking medical care until their conditions cost two or three times more to treat and some people are dying from delayed treatment.

Some companies have been lucky enough to escape the double digit health care cost increases.  One company with Aultcare health insurance is happy to have a single digit increase this year.  They believe that is based partly on a wellness program that was recently introduced to help employees live healthier lifestyles.  Health care costs for employers seem to rise more for smaller businesses because one expensive claim makes a larger impact.  As technology costs more and claims increase, the cost to employers and employees seems to keep rising.  It will be interesting to see what comes of all this government health care reform talk.