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Health Care Reform Vows: A Look Back

ReformYears after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed we take a look at some of the promised benefits.

1.       Premiums will decrease by $2,500 a year for the typical family.

Obama frequently used the $2,500 figure during his campaign and just as many questioned the amount then — it still receives a skeptical reaction from health policy experts. According to The Hill, this number arrived from a rough calculation of savings throughout each part of the health care system, not just premiums. While some consumers are expected to see insurance premiums fall under the ACA, others may see strong hikes in premium costs — mainly the young and healthy.

Many consumers will also be eligible for lower health insurance costs due to tax credits and subsidies available on the marketplaces.

2.       The Affordable Care Act will slow the growth rate of health care costs.

Health care costs have slowed in growth over recent years but experts question just how much of that can be credited to Obama. National health care spending reportedly grew at the lowest rate in 50 years between 2009 and 2011; most of the ACA provisions were not in full effect during that period. Instead, health experts attribute the slow growth to the country’s overall slow economic recovery.

3.       ACA increases health care benefits.

Aside from expanding coverage, one of the main goals of the ACA is to provide a more robust set of benefits to consumers. Provisions that end lifetime and annual dollar limits on coverage, allow children up to age 26 to stay on parents’ health plans and prohibit discrimination based on pre-existing conditions are just a few of the rules which will increase benefits for millions of Americans. New health plans also have to provide 10 Essential Health Benefits but the degree of coverage for those benefits will depend on the state.

Certain critics of the health care law argue that these benefits will increase the cost of coverage for consumers and companies.

4.       The law will increase coverage to 30 million consumers.

States were given the ability to opt out of Medicaid expansion, which alone would have accounted for about 15 million people if every state participated. As a result, this number will most likely be smaller. Meanwhile, with state and federal exchanges opening October 1st, the administration is busy working to educate and prepare the public for enrollment. Time will tell, and after the first year the public will be able to evaluate this promise based on the initial enrollment goal of 7 million people on the marketplaces.

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