The new Care Act has been the hot button of politicians for the last few months as a way to serve their platforms, with the election just months ahead. The problem with all that political posturing and media frenzy is that the citizens of this great free nation, which are directly impacted by this law, are unable to sort through the muddle of jargon to understand how this will actually affect them.
Even with a clear explanation, the bill is so extensive that it is exhausting and written in the double speak of the authors, who are of course, politicians. This is where all Americans should band together to understand that politicians, red or blue, are not one of the people. Politicians are part of another class system, totally removed from the average American. Politicians do not understand what it is like to live in Allendale, Michigan and work in middle management to support a wife and three children. Politicians do not understand what it is like to be a single mother in Tallahassee, Fl, working two jobs and barely able to pay for childcare. Politicians don’t know why a retired couple in San Antonio, Tx saves money in jars instead of depositing in the bank. These lifestyles are so removed from the life of a politician, that drawing the similarities is almost comical. One does not get into politics by being a hard-working middle class citizen.
So people have to help each other to understand the politi-speak. There are many key points to the new health reform bill that everyone should understand. Following are some the key points put into simple laymen’s terms.
One of the major points that Americans should understand is that as of 2014, insurers cannot deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. That means if someone gets laid off, and then six months later is diagnosed with cancer, upon future employment an insurance company cannot deny coverage for the pre-existing condition. The popular political fact checker site Politifact sites an example of 4,029 newly insured individuals in the state of Texas alone in 2010 under this provision.
Another big issue is the tax on the uninsured. Basically, anyone that does not have health insurance by 2014 will be required to purchase it or pay a fine. This is where the socialized medicine claims come into play from many taxpayers. It is important to understand, though, that on January 1, 2014, Suzy in California and Bob in Alabama are not going to be sent a big red bill to pay an egregious amount to the government for not purchasing healthcare. First, everyone will be given the option to purchase subsidized plans. Meaning that low-income families will be offered an affordable health insurance plan based on household income. Second, lower income families will be exempt from the mandate. If one’s income is low enough not to have to file a tax return, that person is exempt. If one’s income is so low that even after subsidies and employer contributions that insurance would still be 8% of income, that person is also exempt. There are also a host of other exemptions. Individuals and families that don’t qualify for these exemptions will pay 1% of your income in 2014. Basically, an individual making 40K a year will be required to pay a fine because insurance coverage is affordable at that level of income.
If that last one seems unreasonable, it should be noted that the Act largely taxes upper incomes. Medicare payroll taxes will increase in 2013 for people with incomes over $200,000 and a 40% excise tax on high-cost, or “Cadillac Plans” will go into effect in 2018. These will bring in billions of dollars for the deficit without financial burden to the middle class.
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is the affect on small businesses. Small businesses will be offered subsidized plans as well as receive tax credits for insuring employees. This means if someone owns a small boutique store that employs five people with salaries around $25,000 annually, the business owner can get a tax credit up to 35%. In 2014, these tax credits will go up to 40%, providing even more motivation for small businesses to provide insurance, besides ethical reasons.
The Affordable Care Act also allows a provision for young adults up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents insurance. What Americans should understand about this is that if a taxpayer’s child is a new graduate that cannot secure employment, coverage will still be granted for the child until the age of 26 under the taxpayer’s policy, or an individual plan is taken out through employment or other means. With the influx of new unemployed graduates moving back home because of the poor job market, this provision could literally save lives.
There are thousands of pages to the Act, and many of it is not yet tested and will be tweaked and revised over the years, just like Social Security was when it was implemented. The Act is here though, and it will affect many Americans in profound ways. Understanding what it means for the individual citizen is important, so researching ways to sort the truth out of the aggrandized propaganda that is paraded as truth in the media is crucial to making decisions for every individual and family.