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Health Care Reform Politics and What to Expect in 2012

The Patient protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) also known as the ‘obamacare’ had been enacted into law early in the previous year and politics has been at the center of its existence. The law requires that all individuals have health insurance not matter how basic or minimal or face tax penalties, with the exception of the ones who cannot afford due to financial constraints or due to their religious beliefs. This provision is called the individual mandate.

After the elections in 2010, there was a serious division in Congress whereby Democrats were able to hold on to Senate majority while the Republicans gained house control. As a result of the polarization, a number of bills were not given the proper attention they needed to pass while others were put to an end. Fortunately some of them went through including some health insurance laws. An attempt to repeal the PPACA was thwarted and so a new strategy aimed at specific provisions of the Act was made. It was successful to some extent after the requirement for a 1099 report and free choice vouchers were repealed. More attempts at repealing other provisions of the health care law but they a failed. Some of them are:

AffordableHealthInsurance•           The provision for the employer mandate,

•           The provision for premium and cost sharing subsidies

•           Provision for individual mandate

•           Provision for placing restrictions on health saving accounts, flexible spending accounts and health reimbursement arrangements

•           Provision for revenue raisers e.g. taxes on health insurance providers, drug and medical supplies manufacturers.

It is expected that the opponents of the Patient protection and Affordable Care Act will continue in their efforts to take down more provisions by way of investigations and hearings to challenge the law’s interpretation, implementation and its drafting. It is possible that some more changes will occur in the future but in the current political and legislative atmosphere it is unlikely that any drastic change will come by. As a vital bargaining chip, the opponents will try to gather as much opposition behind the law during the upcoming election in November 2012. Another issue that comes up a lot is the matter of all the states reviewing their existing plans and programs and adjusting them to conform to the rest. There is fear that the time window is small, and it might even overlap with changes in the election and budget issues. Other disagreements the states bring up are; family health insurance coverage for dependant family members to the age of 26, individual standard-price health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, rights of a patient to appeal the denial of coverage, and wider review of the premiums, and many more. The health insurance laws have a long way to go and the politics surrounding it lurks around. So far about 44 states have passed and signed close to 100 laws under the PPACA, and we are still waiting to see how the picture comes together. To keep up-to-date with the current happenings in the American health insurance, please enter your zip on top of this page and get more informed.