The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a Obamacare) has been an extremely controversial topic recently. It has sharply divided politicians and the public. Republicans and conservatives want to see it repealed, while Democrats and liberals enthusiastically defend and promote it. The opinion of the American people, however, has been more difficult to gauge. Recently, both politicians and the public have been outraged by the disastrous opening of HealthCare.gov and insurance companies dropping millions of clients. President Obama suffered a major blow both to his credibility and popularity as a result. His promise that people could keep their health insurance if they wanted to turned out to be false. In this paper, I want to examine some of these issues and what they mean for health care reform. Specifically, I want to see how it affects businesses.
First of all, why did the healthcare system in this country need reforming? There were tens of millions of Americans without health insurance. The main reason was that it was so expensive. If your employer did not provide it, you had to pay for it yourself or be uninsured. These uninsured people did not have regular access to healthcare, because paying out of pocket, even just for a check-up, was expensive. Another problem was that people with preexisting conditions, or serious medical problems, could not get coverage. These were just some of the problems that existed.
That is why the ACA was passed. It ensured that all Americans would be able to afford insurance. It made it illegal for insurance companies to turn away anyone with a preexisting condition. Those who could not afford insurance on their own would receive government subsidies to help pay for it.
Under the new law, all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance for those employees. If not, they can face fines up to $3000.00. A full-time employee is one that works at least 30 hours a week. The insurance cannot cost the employee more than 9.5% of their income, and must cover at least 60% of their medical expenses. These rules are known as the "corporate mandate". It was supposed to take effect at the beginning of 2014, but has now been delayed until 2015 so that businesses can have more time to figure out the law and how to implement it.
The ACA had (and still has) many opponents. The reason for this resistance was a part of the law known as the individual mandate. This part made it mandatory for all Americans to have health insurance. Republicans, conservatives, and other critics said this undermined individual freedom and was unconstitutional. The government could not force its citizens to have health insurance if they didn't want it. Nor could they fine them for not having it. The issue went before the Supreme Court.
The debate was over what to call the “penalty” for not having health insurance. The Obama Administration argued that it was a tax, and the government had a right to tax people. Lawyers for the...