PPACA Celebrates it’s 3rd Anniversary

by Steve Wilson on March 22, 2013 · 0 comments

in Health, Small Business


Thursday, March 21st, 2013 marked the third anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave a series of interviews discussing the wide-ranging effects of the law. Three years, two elections, and one Supreme Court decision after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, its promise of health care for the uninsured may be delayed or undercut in much of the country because of entrenched opposition from many Republican state leaders. The United States have been faced varying levels of adoption of ACA provisions, namely Medicaid expansion and insurance exchanges, and what challenges and opportunities exist to get the word out about coverage under the law.  The Washington Times  (3/22, Howell) reports that on the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s signing, lawmakers from both parties agree the healthcare law "could use some changes. While GOP critics say that means scaling back, for Democrats it means expanding the law, which they see as a ‘work in progress’ that will eventually include the kinds of coverage they had to forgo the first time around."

Opinion Pieces Blast ACA On Third Anniversary. In a piece for USA Today  (3/22, Danner), Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, and Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, write that on the third anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act, "the law is not living up to its moniker." They argue, "The law has increased costs and added profound complexity to an already confusing system; higher taxes and thousands of pages of new regulations are having a tremendous impact on the small-business community and have contributed to the slow recovery of Main Street."

        Senior editorial writer Conn Carrol blasts the "pathetic third anniversary" of the Affordable Care Act in a piece for the Washington Examiner (3/22), writing, "Virtually nothing has gone right for plan since it became law." He lists what he sees as the law’s failures, including the canceled CLASS Act and suspended high-risk pools, and a high amount of disapproval from the public. He concludes, "According to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, only 37 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Obamacare. As Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment continues to rack up more failures, that number will only go down."

Insurers Warn Premiums Will Rise For Many Next Year As ACA Kicks In.

On its front page, the Wall Street Journal Share to Twitter (3/22, A1, Mathews, Radnofsky, Subscription Publication) reports that in meetings with brokers and agents, health insurers are projecting significant increases in premiums for many individuals and small businesses next year, which the article notes is important evidence that the Affordable Care Act may be leading to an increase in prices for consumers. For example, UnitedHealth Group, the country’s largest insurance company, said in private presentations last month that premiums could rise over 100% for some individuals, and 25%-50% for some small businesses. The Journal points out that these figures are in contrast to what the Obama Administration is predicting, as HHS insists the law will "make health-care coverage more affordable and accessible."

Americans remain confused by the health reform law and how it affects them.

Overall, public opinion of the health care law remains divided, with 40 percent holding an unfavorable view of the law and 37 percent holding a favorable one.

The latest health tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Wednesday shows that less than a year before the law takes full effect, 57 percent of Americans say they still don’t have enough information to understand how it will affect them.  But that uncertainty is even worse for some of the key groups the law was designed to most help: the uninsured (67 percent) and those with incomes below $40,000 (68 percent).

The poll shows the most popular provisions of the PPACA, such as tax credits to small businesses (with 88 percent favorability), remain among its least widely recognized, while the law’s least popular provision (with 40 percent favorability)—the individual mandate requiring most people to obtain health coverage—is its most widely recognized.

Additionally, the poll finds that Americans’ awareness of key elements of the law has declined somewhat since passage when media attention was at its height. For example in April 2010, 64 percent of the public recognized the law would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions. That number has fallen to 53 percent today.

The public is equally as confused about what their state is doing about health reform. Just 7 percent of the public say they have heard “a lot” (and 15 percent have heard “some”) about their own state’s decision to set up an exchange or leave the task to the federal government. And 78 percent say they don’t know whether their governor has made a decision about whether to expand Medicaid under the law.

The public’s expectations about the law’s likely impact on their own families tend to be more negative than positive, with 29 percent saying the PPACA will make them worse off, 21 percent saying it will make them better off, and four in 10 saying it won’t make much difference. About half also think their family’s health care costs will get worse under the law, while 15 percent say their costs will get better and 33 percent say they will stay about the same.  Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed roughly 1,200 adults March 5-10.

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