Health Care Reform Q & A


Q.  Is the Affordable Care Act a government takeover of the entire health insurance industry?

A.  No.  The ACA maintains the existing network of private insurers, private doctors, private hospitals, private medical device companies, and private pharmaceutical manufacturers. 

Q.  What is the “individual mandate” that the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional?

The “individual mandate” or “free-rider” provision says that if you can afford insurance you are required to have it.  This prevents individuals from “free-riding” off the health care system and transferring their uncompensated care to the rest of taxpayers.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 1.4% percent of Americans will have to pay the penalty which starts at $95 and goes up based on one’s income.  This provision was modeled after one in the Massachusetts law designed by Governor Romney and has enjoyed bi-partisan support in the past.

Q.  Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a tax increase on everyone?

No.  For the vast majority of middle class families, the ACA is a tax cut.  The ACA includes over $800 billion in tax credits and subsidies for families and individuals earning less than $92,000 for a family of four (400% of the federal poverty level). 

Q.  Will the new Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created by the law result in rationing of health care, especially for the elderly?

A.  No.  The ACA explicitly prohibits IPAB from making any changes that ration care or increase seniors’ Medicare premiums or cost sharing.

Q.  Will the new law add trillions of dollars to the federal deficit?

A.  Health care reform is projected to reduce the deficit by $124 billion over the next ten years.

Q.  Will the new law hurt small businesses?

A.  Under the law businesses with fewer than 50 employees are not required to offer insurance to their employees; however, the ACA provides them with a tax credit to help pay for their workers’ coverage.

Q.  Did Congress exempt itself from the new health care law?

A.  No.  Members of Congress and their staffs are treated like any other citizens under the terms of the bill.