Barack Obama’s Health Care Reform Bill Explained

We are often asked, “Are these the Obamacare Plans?” by someone who is interested in buying health insurance that gives them a tax credit to lower their premium costs. Why are they so often called Obama Care Plans? Just what did President Barack Obama do to bring about Health Care Reform in the United States?

Why It Began

No major changes had touched the health care system in the United States since 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) were established.  Health care costs were rising in America, and people who needed medical insurance coverage were being canceled or denied. Many attempts to implement Health Care Reform were made but never succeeded until Barack Obama’s Presidency.

The Success of the President

Health Care Reform was a major topic in political speeches during the General Election in 2008 when Barack Obama ran for President of the United States for the first time. Obama said it would be one of his top 4 priorities if he were elected President. He had a staunch belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose and change which was the basis for his years of public service.

In 2009 when Barack Obama was elected, he set Congress to work on creating Health Care Reform legislation.  Originally, he wanted to improve quality and lower the costs of health care without a “mandate” that required all people to have medical insurance and without a health insurance penalty.  However, he was later persuaded to accept congressional proposals that included a mandate in order for Obama Health Care Reform to work and in order to gain necessary votes for passage of the bill. 

After much congressional debate, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law on March 23, 2010. It was during the first term of his presidency that Health Care Reform in the United States succeeded. The ACA laid out a timeline for implementation of the law which included Open Enrollment Periods, additional coverage options for low income families and adult children under age 26, the increasing of penalties and more.

Did You Know?

“Obamacare” is a term now used for the Affordable Care Act.  This term was initially used disapprovingly by opponents to the President’s Health Care Reform law.  However, Obama eventually embraced the nickname in 2012 during his campaign for re-election as he was happy to say that Obama does care. The term “Obamacare” is now used interchangeably by liberals and conservatives to refer to Health Care Reform, the Affordable Care Act, the State and Federal Marketplaces, and even the health insurance plans that you can buy at the Marketplaces.

Pros and Cons of the Obama Health Care Reform Act

President Barack Obama and supportive Democrats have been constantly seeking to point out the strengths of the ACA, while Republican opponents have taken shots at the disadvantages of the Obama Health Care Reform law. On the positive side, health insurance coverage is more affordable and accessible for lower income Americans and for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Free preventative care services are included in the minimum essential benefits, which are expected to improve the overall health of the nation.

On the negative side, the Obama Health Care Reform Plan is expensive. The government is paying out high costs in up-front tax credits/subsidies. Also, for middle class and upper class Americans, health insurance premiums have risen due to guaranteed issue coverage and the increased red tape associated with Obamacare. Many health insurance companies have lost money in the exchanges and have left the Health Insurance Marketplace. Whether or not the President’s Health Care Reform in its current state is sustainable remains to be seen.

Quotes, Benefits and Enrollment

There are various Obama Health Care Reform websites to assist you with cost pricing, plan choice and signing up. To view rates and apply in California, click Obama Care California. For all other states, visit You can get free quotes easily online by clicking California health insurance quotes. After entering your zip code, income and date of births for your household, you will be able to view plans, rates, benefits and subsidies available to you through the Health Insurance Marketplace.


Not sure how Obamacare affects your health care plans in California? Learn how the ACA works in California, including benefits, costs and enrollment.

Covered California is the Golden State’s official health exchange marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can find high-quality, low-cost California government health insurance.

Learn about Obamacare income guidelines in California using our income limits chart, and see if you’re eligible for government assistance.

Learn about the Covered California website. Find easy online enrollment. Set up your account, log in, buy insurance and more on the California health marketplace website.