ACA Commentary

People may be misinterpreting the information available on the Affordable Care Act's healthcare.gov website. One can now see plans and rough prices for plans available by for any specified county in Texas. However, this can be very misleading in that this information does not include the government tax credits available to most. When looking at plan prices, click on the link that says 'to find out if you may qualify for lower costs, use this simple calculator.’ The link takes you to the Kaiser Family Foundation website calculator, which is very easy to use. After you input your estimated yearly income and who is to be insured, you will receive an exact amount that you would be expected to pay as your part of the insurance premium. For lower incomes, the government tax credits (subsidies) are high and the credits decrease as income increases. The amount shown on the Kaiser Family calculator is what you will pay for the second lowest cost Silver plan. In Comal County, this is the…
Posted on Oct 23, 2013
The Affordable Care Act, the federal health insurance reform law known as “Obamacare” is in effect, along with a major provision — health insurance exchanges, also known as health insurance marketplace. If you are currently uninsured, it’s very important that you know about these exchanges and how they can benefit you and your family. I bet you are asking yourself, what is a health insurance exchange? It’s an online store where consumers can easily compare and buy health insurance plans — think of it as the Orbitz or Expedia of insurance. Beginning Nov. 15, 2014,  you may begin using the exchanges to enroll in coverage that will begin Jan. 1, 2015. This "open enrollment" window will last until Feb. 15, 2015. The Affordable Care Act authorized states to set up and operate their own exchanges. Unfortunately, Governor Perry stubbornly refused to create one — and therefore Texas’ exchange will be run by the federal government. You might hear a lot of misinformation about what these…
Posted on Sep 26, 2013
Recent polls concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reveal that a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the health care reform law, and that a majority also have little or no understanding of the law. Opponents have mischaracterized various aspects of the ACA and many claims have been described by fact-checking organizations as ‘pants-on-fire’ lies. Rather than spend effort refuting these untruthful assertions about the law, I want to focus on its benefits to a large portion of those in the U.S. that have not in the past had access to affordable health insurance. Individuals without employer-sponsored group insurance can purchase insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace which opens for business on October 1. Those wishing to obtain a policy can do so at www.healthcare.gov. The web site will ask for the number of adults and children to be insured and estimated household income for 2014. The applicant will be able to access and view the details of various insurance…
Posted on Sep 23, 2013
Photo by Adam Borkowski, PhotoXpress.com
Many opponents of Obamacare continue to rehash the same scare tactic about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that they have used countless times in the past. They assert that surely the IPAB will lead to severe rationing of health care, negatively affecting the lives of countless Americans. This claim is not truthful and runs a close second to the statements selected the last two years by FactCheck.org as the winners of the ‘most outrageous pants-on-fire lies.’ Those debunked one-liners argued that the new law authorized ‘death panels’ and represented a ‘government take-over of health care.’ As written in the law, the board will consist of 15 voting members appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. Before submitting his choices, the president is directed to consult with Democratic and Republicans leaders in both houses of Congress. The makeup of the IPAB under the Affordable Care Act, as described by the American Medical Association, …
Posted on Aug 3, 2013
From discussions with individuals in our local community and reading articles and letters to editors, it appears to me that many people do not understand how the Affordable Care Act affects small business owners. Many believe they will have to provide a health care plan for their employees or be forced to pay substantial penalty fees. This is not true for 96% of businesses, according to the White House (see www.whitehouse.gov). That is the percentage of businesses in the U.S. that employ fewer than 50 full time workers. If you are in this 96% group, you are not required to set up a health care plan for your employees and you will not be assessed any penalty fee. What about the roughly 200,000 firms in the United States that do employ 50 or more full time workers? Many of those companies offer very good group health insurance plans that will easily be in compliance with the minimum health insurance standards that, under the Affordable Care Act, will be established by each state.…
Posted on Jul 30, 2013
Image by Yoram Astrakhan, PhotoXpress.com
The Affordable Care Act seeks to level the playing field for those workers in our society who do not have access to company-subsidized health insurance plans. The federal government is providing the subsidy not available to those people from their employers. And the Congressional Budget Office recently issued an updated analysis confirming its initial conclusion that the Affordable Care Act will not add to our budget deficit. I think this law has been grossly misrepresented by opponents and is misunderstood by many who do not have the time to listen to anything but negative sound bites. Nearly 160 million people under age 65 in America obtain their health coverage through the workplace, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.  In 2011, the average premium for family coverage was $15,073 of which the employee paid $4129 or 27 percent of the premium.  Because there is no tax on the premium, the employee saved $1,153 of Social Security and Medicare withholding and another $…
Posted on Jul 30, 2013
I was contacted through Facebook by a woman in Galveston County with a health care issue. She is 63 years old and her only source of income is her monthly $988 Social Security check. She has been in excellent health and, except for work-required physicals, had not seen a doctor in 20 years ... until she broke her ankle. She received treatment from a nearby emergency room where the doctor put a temporary splint on the ankle and referred her to an orthopedist. The orthopedist looked at her X-rays and said she had to have surgery which would cost at least $10,000. Of course, the women did not have the money for the procedure. She returned home thinking that, if she was very careful, the ankle might eventually heal. After eight weeks, she removed the splint but, as one might expect, the ankle was still very discolored and swollen and she could not put any weight on it. A Medicaid case worker told her they couldn't help her and suggested that she move to another state to get help. In Texas…
Posted on Feb 9, 2013
The Governor and legislative leaders who take a ‘no’ position on implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Texas lack compassion, ignore objective facts, and perpetuate injustice. Compassion: Texas already has one of the most stringent Medicaid programs in the country, yet in 2010, the 82nd Legislative Session leaders further cut and underfunded Medicaid. These shortsighted decisions heighten our national decade-old standing as the state with the most uninsured and underinsured population in the country. Failure to implement the Medicaid expansion and Health Care Exchange will mean millions of uninsured Texans will continue to be at-risk for poor health and financial consequences.  With ACA, an estimated one million additional adult Texans with poverty level incomes will be insured.  Furthermore, the Health Insurance Exchange will help an estimated 2.5 million uninsured low to middle-income Texans to purchase affordable health insurance coverage. Ignoring the Facts:…
Posted on Aug 20, 2012