The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a sweeping piece of legislation that will allow 32 million Americans access to health care coverage. The key changes are outlined below.
2010-2011 Major Changes (See also: HHS' letter to Congress on their status in implementing this law):
Extends coverage for young people up to 26th birthday through parents’ insurance and does not allow employers to charge more to provide coverage for these adult children. Also, "employers can amend their health care plans immediately to extend coverage to employees' adult children without employees being taxed on the cost of the coverage"
No discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions
Help for early retirees — Creates a temporary re‐insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees for health benefits for retirees age 55‐64.
Free preventive care under Medicare and new private plans.
Bans lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on coverage on coverage.
Help for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions until exchange is available (interim high‐risk pool).
Small business tax credits—Offers tax credits up to 35% of premiums to small businesses.
$250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010.
Brief Summary of Changes 2011-2014:
The Federal government will determine Medicaid eligibility and guarantee an essential services package(states can offer additional services).
Requires states are required to offer Medicaid to include childless adults, who have been mostly shut out of Medicaid in the past.
Expands Medicaid to include any American whose income is 133 percent of federal poverty level.
In 2011, there will be a 50% discount on brand name drugs for seniors who hit the donut hole.
Donut hole will be completely closed for all prescription drugs by 2020.
Private Insurance Reforms:
Insurance exchanges are opened and premium subsidies begin.
Insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions.
Insurance companies can no longer charge higher rates due to health status or gender. Premiums can vary only on age (no more than 3:1), geography, family size, and tobacco use.
In 2011, increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly a doubling of the number of patients seen by the centers over the next 5 years.
The American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (commonly known as the Stimulus Bill) was the largest spending bill in U.S. History. Below is a breakdown of the progressive spending allocated in this bill:
Education - Total: $90.9 billion
* $15.6 billion to increase Pell Grants from $4,731 to $5,350
* $13 billion for low-income public schoolchildren
* $12.2 billion for IDEA special education
* $2.1 billion for Head Start
* $2 billion for childcare services
* $300 million for increased teacher salaries
* $70 million for the education of homeless children
Aid to low income workers, unemployed and retirees (including job training) - Total: $82.5 billion
* $20.3 billion for food (Food Stamp Program, refill food banks, lunch programs for children and seniors)
* $14.2 billion to give one-time $250 payments to Social Security recipients, people on Supplemental Security Income, and veterans receiving disability and pensions.
* $3 billion in temporary welfare payments
* $500 million for vocational training for the disabled
* $120 million for subsidized community service jobs for older Americans
Infrastructure Investment - Total: $80.9 billion
* $17.8 billion for public transportation projects
* $6 billion for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure (Environmental Protection Agency)
Energy - Total: $61.3 billion
* $15.5 billion funding for an electric smart grid
* $10.8 billion investments in increasing energy efficiency
* $7.3 billion for environmental clean-up
With the passage of health care reform, Obama and Congress accomplished a goal that has been eluding Democrats since FDR. With the passage of the stimulus bill, funding for many progressive ideals were accomplished. Acknowledging the great accomplishments of the Obama administration and Congress in passing these two historic bills does not mean that the bills are perfect, but it does show that the Obama administration has accomplished "change we can believe in" through these bills and many other accomplishments. By celebrating these accomplishments, whether through policy-based diaries or a news/picture diary round-up, does not in any way mean that we are ignoring the problems of the Obama administration. The Obama administration has in some cases moved too slow or has not pushed enough for certain progressive goals. However, when we ignore or belittle Obama’s achievements because of our anger over certain issues, we are not "pushing him from the left", instead we are behaving in short-sighted and simple-minded behavior. Ignoring Obama’s accomplishments or pretending that any Democratic president could have achieved passage of health care, etc. gives ammunition to the GOP and the media who are pushing the meme that Obama has accomplished nothing. It also demoralizes Democrats who we need to volunteer for GOTV efforts and to vote in the midterms. Do you honestly think the items on your progressive to-do list have a better chance of getting done with a Republican Congress?
Final note: This diary is not asking anyone to STFU. But, it is asking posters if you have no interest in celebrating the good that is being done by the Obama administration, there is no need to belittle and demean those that do. It also does not mean that those posters who celebrate the accomplishments are engaged in idolatry, are uniformed or less progressive than you.
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