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The History and Future of Obama Care

The Story

Let’s look back in time to see where we have been and then where we are going.  The reform of our nation’s health care system has taken form in a series of steps that have included the campaigning of a determined President, bipartisan disagreements, legislation, and public implementation.

  • 1989 – 2007 – many ideas, Bills, and Acts were proposed but never passed to overhaul America’s Healthcare System
  • 2008 – during his presidential campaign, Barack Obama said fixing healthcare would be one of his top 4 priorities if he became president
  • January 20, 2009 – President Barack Obama was sworn into office as the 44th U.S. President
  • Early 2009 – President Obama started Congress working on a new healthcare reform law that could be passed
    • He wanted to improve quality and lower costs of healthcare for all Americans without a mandate
    • He hoped to make it illegal to drop individuals who came down sick and to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions 
  • 2009-2010 – both parties in Congress debated proposals for Obamacare
  • March 23, 2010 – the PPACA (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was signed into law by President Obama
  • 2010 – 2014 – The new law rolls out in stages mainly over 4 years but with some changes continuing into 2020

How does Obama Care measure up?

On one side

  • President Obama was the 1st president to succeed in overhauling the American healthcare system since Medicare and Medicaid was established in 1965
  • People who were formerly “uninsurable” because of pre-existing conditions can now obtain health insurance and have access to healthcare at reasonable costs
  • Tax credits are helping over 85% of all those who have enrolled through the exchanges
  • Since the 2nd quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate for all Americans is the lowest in 50 years
  • Insurance rate increases have remained remarkably low in the first 2 years of implementing the law

On the flip side…

  • The U.S. is still spending considerably more on its healthcare than most countries
  • Enrollment in Obama Care plans only affects 4% of Americans
  • The law does not prevent all medical cost problems like high cost out of network surprise bills, price gouging by drug companies, or high deductible plans with few benefits

The Future

Obama Care is most likely here to stay.  Even though there have been attempts to repeal or amend the Affordable Care Act due to opposition, all have failed. Rates are estimated to have a considerable and atypical increase in 2017 due to the expiration of certain financial protections for insurers that were in place during the first 3 years of Obama Care. After 2017, rates are expected to stabilize. It is truly a work in progress that will more than likely see amendments down the road aimed to lower costs, and to provide better overall quality of healthcare.