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An Overview of the Affordable Care Act

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The Affordable Care Act is touted as the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history. And, if approved by the United States Supreme Court, the Act’s effects upon uninsured Americans, insured Americans, and the health care system in general will be significant and pervasive.

From a cost-saving perspective, the Act will cap out-of-pocket expenses, while also mandating that preventative care be fully covered by insurance. In addition, new tax credits will help millions of families keep money in their pockets by reducing their health insurance premiums.

In fact, families earning less than $250,000.00 per year benefit from tax cuts that will total hundreds of millions of dollars. This health care reform stands in marked contrast rising expenses and deficits in certain economic sectors, as it will be completely paid for and is projected to reduce the federal deficit by over one hundred billion dollars over the next decade.

Pursuant to the Act, Americans without insurance coverage will be able to select the insurance coverage that best suits their needs in an open and competitive insurance market, the same market from which members of Congress select their insurance.

The free market system will empower Americans to choose from plans that compete for their business based upon cost and benefits provided. In an effort to minimize confusion in the insurance selection process, the Act requires the development of standard coverage documents so that consumers can make apples-to-apples comparisons when shopping for health insurance.

Americans with insurance coverage may keep their current coverage without penalty, as the Act does not require anyone to change their insurance. And, small business owners may both choose insurance coverage through this system, while also receiving tax credits to help offset the cost of covering their employees.

The Act also places a strong focus on prevention and wellness by providing funding to these areas in unprecedented amounts. In addition, the Act dictates the creation of a national prevention and health promotion strategy, incorporating practicable methods that reduce preventable illness and disability among Americans.

American families are also empowered with resources to find the best empirical information about nutrition and wellness. In addition, prevention is prioritized, as co-payments are waived for preventative services, screenings and immunizations for the more than 94 percent of Americans who are estimated to be covered by the Act.

Those who are battling illnesses may take solace in knowing that the Act eliminates lifetime and unreasonable annual limits on benefits, prohibits rescissions of health insurance policies, and provides coverage for those who are uninsured due to a pre-existing condition.


Health Care Law and You. http://www.healthcare.gov. Accessed 27 Mar. 2012. http://www.healthcare.gov/law/index.html

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Detailed Summary. http://dpc.senate.gov. Accessed 27 Mar. 2012. http://dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill04.pdf

Reviewed March 27, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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