I meet folks who say, "I don't like Obamacare". I find this frustrating, because these same people almost never are able to articulate anything other than a feeling! When I review the 10 major features of the Affordable Care Act, these same people invariably tell me they are in favor of most if not all. Which one of these ten things do you hate?
1. The individual mandate is probably the most commonly disliked provision, and yet, it is essential. This is how insurance works. Everyone pays in and "pools their risk". Only the extremely wealthy could possibly afford to go it alone.
2. The exchanges are an important innovation that allows the customer to compare plans in a standard fashion, to pick what works best for them. This can be done through insurance brokers, paper applications or hopefully, via the new web sites when they are working.
3. The expansion of Medicaid is a crucial change for the working poor - those families for whom coverage would otherwise be impossible.
4. Elimination of the donut hole. Seniors on Medicare no longer have to deal with the strange gap in prescription coverage that affected so many.
5. No pre-existing condition limits. This gets rid of the favorite insurance company way of refusing to pay for needed care.
6. Young people up to age 26 can stay on parents' plan. An easy administrative change that has helped millions of young people just getting started.
7. No copay for preventive care and screening tests takes away the barrier to get things that save illness and money down the road.
9. Tax credits to small businesses to encourage them to provide health insurance to employees. This helps employers do the right thing for those who work for them, and attract and keep good employees.
10. Subsidies for lower income Americans. The sad fact is, medical care has gotten so expensive that millions of people who work full time cannot afford the insurance or the care. This costs all of us in higher fees, and this change helps to end that spiral.