Personal Finance In the News: Affordable Care Act Upheld

Chapter 9 of the 6th edition of Personal Finance, Turning Money into Wealth, discussed the fact that more than two dozen states had joined in a lawsuit stating that the healthcare law was unconstitutional.  On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court upheld the healthcare law.  The Key Features of the Law are provided on the White House website along with an interactive timeline on What’s Changing and When.

While this new law was initially enacted into law in March 2010, implementation of the different provisions of the law are spread out through 2018.

The different measures in the law can be classified as:

▪       Providing New Consumer Protections

▪       Improving Quality and Lowering Costs

▪       Increasing Access to Affordable Care

▪       Holding Insurance Companies Accountable

However, even though the Affordable Care Act enacts major changes in health care, your interaction with the U.S. medical system will remain more or less the same — you’ll pay a private insurance company, they’ll reimburse your doctors for care.  In addition, while there was much talk of a public health insurance option; there isn’t one, instead, you’ll still deal with one of many insurance companies. In effect, this bill tinkers with the way the current system works, rather than scrapping it and replacing it with a new one.

Still, it does some important things that may affect you, and the Smart Money article, “How the Health Ruling Impacts You,” takes a close look at how this how this law and the high court’s decision impacts five key groups, and what might have happened if the decision had gone the other way. These key groups include:

  • Those with pre-existing conditions
  • Young adults under 26
  • Those who buy their own insurance
  • People who get insurance through work
  • Baby boomers

One thing for certain is that as a result of this law, more Americans will have health insurance.

Discussion questions:

  1. Why do you think the government decide to reform health care?
  2. Identify some of the provisions aimed at lowering costs.
  3. How are young adults under 26 impacted by the ruling, and what might have happened if the law was not upheld?
  4. Take a look at the Wall Street Journal article “Americans react to historic health care decision,” are you glad the Affordable Care Act was passed? Why or why not?
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