By Courtney Law
After 2 1/2 years as the law of the land, Obamacare has benefited millions of Americans and will benefit millions more as the law becomes fully implemented.
The idea behind the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is that no Americans should have to go into debt because they need health care. President Obama’s health care law expands access to the care Americans need and lowers its cost.
The heart of the law is to hold insurance companies accountable by prohibiting them from cutting off coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
For years, insurance companies could drop your coverage if you were diagnosed with cancer or diabetes, if your toddler developed asthma or if your husband hurt his back. But now, parents of children who have pre-existing conditions can rest assured that their children won’t lose their ability to see their doctor or to fill a prescription when they need it. In 2014, that rule will apply to everybody.
This provision alone represents a dramatic shift in how citizens access health care.But there’s more.
In this economy, young people are struggling to find work that offers health benefits, or in some cases they struggle to find work at all. Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans under age 26 can remain on their parents’ insurance plans. Over 3 million young people across the country have taken advantage of this provision. In Colorado, 50,000 young people have coverage now that was not available to them before Obamacare.
Under the health care law, Colorado seniors on Medicare have saved an average of nearly $700 on their prescription drugs, and almost 400,000 Colorado seniors have received a free preventive care service, such as a mammogram, flu shot, wellness exam, cancer screening, bone density measurement or other service.
Obamacare gives power back to consumers.
The law requires insurance companies to justify rate increases, gives you the right to repeal a denied claim, phases out annual and lifetime limits on your coverage, and forces insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of your premiums on providing care — not on marketing or bonuses.
When health insurance exchanges are implemented in states by 2014, all of us will have the same insurance options as members of Congress. These marketplaces will allow individuals and small businesses to compare rates and find plans that work for them or their employees.
By providing small businesses the same purchasing power as large corporations and increasing competition among providers, Americans will have greater control over their health care and will see overall costs driven down.
Gov. Romney has stated on multiple occasions that his health care law in Massachusetts is a model for the nation. In fact, it was a model for Obamacare.
Regardless, he has vowed to repeal Obamacare on Day One of a Romney presidency, yet can’t give a clear answer on what he’ll to do address the issue of 50 million to 122 million Americans with pre-existing conditions who once again would be at the mercy of insurance companies.
On a visit to Colorado he even stated that it could take up to 10 years to figure out a way to address that issue. He and his running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan also have proposed a plan to privatize Medicare, which would cost seniors thousands more in out-of-pocket expenses.
Their health care promises would hurt Americans.
President Obama’s health care law gives Americans more choice, more protections and more access to the care they need. It has given millions of Americans greater peace of mind and has fundamentally changed our health care system for the better.
Courtney Law is spokeswoman for Protect Your Care.
Opinions communicated in Solutions represent the view of individual authors, and may not reflect the position of the University of Colorado Denver or the University of Colorado system.