Day 25: Learn about the Affordable Care Act!

One-third of Americans are not clear that ‘Obamacare’ is the same thing as the Affordable Care Act.  There’s a lot of confusion about the ACA. But the more people learn, the less they want it repealed.

Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia public health clinic, 1941. Credit: Jack Delano, Library of Congress.

DAY 25 ACTION: Learn about the Affordable Care Act.

Health insurance coverage has expanded dramatically under the Affordable Care Act. 

But one-third of Americans aren’t clear that “Obamacare” and the Affordable Care Act (or ACA) are the same thing. 61% did not know an ACA repeal means expanded Medicaid coverage and subsidies for health insurance go away. Say “Obamacare” and people respond with their political instincts; talk about health insurance and you get different answers.

Health coverage is a challenge in the US, because health care is a private market, for-profit enterprise. Americans spend more than two-and-a-half times on medical expenses than Europeans, and we have fewer doctors and hospital beds per capita. We have world-class medical facilities, but we also have millions of people resorting to treatment in emergency rooms or going without care. 

The ACA was an imperfect but practical response. Lawmakers had to find a market solution that the insurance industry wouldn’t kill. They looked to Massachusetts, where Republican Governor Mitt Romney had expanded coverage. Like Romneycare, the ACA set conditions to protect consumers, but then required people to buy insurance. More customers for the insurance industry made them more amenable to the new conditions. Under the ACA:

  • People under 26 can stay on their parents’ plan;
  • You can’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition;
  • Insurance companies cannot charge women and men different prices for the same policy;
  • Women have more access to preventative health care; and 
  • The are no lifetime caps on coverage.

The ACA requires people to get covered or pay a penalty. For the poorest, the ACA expands Medicaid eligibility. The federal government would pay for 100% of new coverage through 2016 and 90% after. 19 states, mostly in the South, refused to expand Medicaid.

In mid-January, the House voted to set a deadline for an ACA repeal. No Democrat voted for the measure, and 9 Republicans voted against it.

Now the Republicans are scrambling for a plan to replace the ACA. Word is they can’t agree. And, they are concerned by the growing backlash to the repeal.

Today’s Action: Learn about the Affordable Care Act! Talk about it! Make sure people know that Obamacare and the ACA are the exact same thing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s