Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), informally referred to as Obamacare, is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, it represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

PPACA is aimed primarily at decreasing the number of uninsured Americans and reducing the overall costs of health care. It provides a number of incentives, including subsidies, tax credits, and fees, to employers and uninsured individuals in order to increase insurance coverage. Additional reforms are aimed at improving healthcare outcomes in the United States while updating and streamlining the delivery of health care.

A 34-page summary recently written by the U.S. Chamber includes the following facts we share with their permission:

“At the end of the day, this law is largely about the worthy goal of expanding access to coverage, rather than the pressing imperative of addressing explosive health care costs. While the law makes a number of changes to reduce spending, particularly in the Medicare program, several more provisions will actually increase health care costs over and above costs that would have happened without enactment of health reform. Therefore, at least from the perspective of controlling costs, the law is likely worse than doing nothing at all.

“Our opinion is that the combination of reduced flexibility, new taxes, new penalties, new benefit mandates, new reporting requirements and uncertainty about implementation far outweighs the potential benefits to employers of the new law. We have significant work to do to educate policy makers, employees and their families to understand these negatives and to help effectuate positive change.

“Our goal should be to promote expanded coverage and hold costs down. Doing one without the other makes little sense. While challenging, this combined task is not impossible. We have outlined common sense solutions, and look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to undo some of the damage that has been done by the health reform law. Many of the reforms will not take effect until 2014, so there is some time to make adjustments. Together we can effect change that will promote a high value, efficient health system.”

For more information:

Health Reform Explained video:

Implementation timeline from the Kaiser Family foundation
Interactive tool designed to explain how and when the provisions of the health reform law will be implemented over the next several years.

Investors Weekly article
A listing of the 20 hidden taxes