Access to decent, affordable healthcare has been a dream for some Americans. More were uninsured in 2011 than in 2008, according to a Sept. 2011 CNN news report.
The League of Women Voters discussed this issue in their March 19 panel. Darden Rice, president of LMV St. Petersburg, opened the presentation in Davis 130 with an introduction to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Dr. Julie Kessel, M.D., then explained how the reform would impact everyone.
The Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010 and offers benefits that health care and insurance companies didn’t provide before.
The law covers adult children up the age of 26 on parents’ health insurance and provides coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. It also deters insurance companies from ceasing coverage if a person develops cancer, diabetes, or any other disease that subsequently becomes a pre-existing condition.
“Women pay higher premiums than men during their child-bearing years,” Kessel said. “Pregnancy is considering a pre-existing condition.”
Kessel elaborated on how the law would prohibit insurance companies from charging recipients based upon health and gender. It would also eliminate co-pays and fees associated with preventive care.
“So far, in Florida alone, over 157,000 previously uninsured adults under 26 now have health coverage through a parent,” Rice said later in an email. “The number is 2.5 million nationally.”
However, despite the recent progression in legislative reform, the law still has some lingering flaws that continue to face scrutiny. Third-party payer resumes between providers and recipients, and beginning in 2014, Americans will have to be insured or pay a $2,000 fine.
The law will also not require businesses to provide health coverage for their workers, nor will it provide financial assistance to low and moderate-income Americans who cannot attain health insurance through their jobs.
According to a March 2011 article in The Fiscal Times, companies with low-wage workers will suffer the brunt because the health insurance offered to them doesn’t comply with the new reform, which goes into effect in 2014. Insurance companies offered ultimatums of offering unlimited insurance minimums or reduction of workforce. So far, seven reported companies have accepted waivers for their workers.
Florida has ceased complete implementation of the law due to a recent federal court ruling declaring the law to be unconstitutional. A lawsuit was recently filed against the requirement that everyone have health coverage.