H.R. 45: Repeal ObamaCare

H.R. 45, introduced by Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, is the latest bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. ObamaCare.

Background

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, nicknamed ObamaCare, passed during the 111th Congress, when the Democratic Party controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Although people in politics and media who take money from the health insurance industry have effectively convinced some citizens otherwise, the bill left our health care needs in the hands of private insurers who – by law – have duties to their shareholders, not to patients. In fact, the bill requires all Americans to buy their products, an issue which was narrowly ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court.

However, in return for remaining in existence, the Affordable Care Act put rules on the nation’s private health insurers requiring them to provide much better coverage to patients/customers in return for their premium payments. The health insurers, and those they have paid in Congress, have been trying to repeal those new rules ever since.

Before the Affordable Care Act, there was no minimum standard of care a patient/customer could expect in return for their premium payments. As a result, there were no limits to how much of your money they could take and put into their pockets; there were no limits to how high their profit margins could soar. The private health insurers miss those days; H.R. 45 bill would bring them back.

Some of the key rules created by ObamaCare that the insurance industry would like to see eliminated include:

  • The insurance company can’t deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions (starts January 1, 2014).
  • The insurance company must charge everyone the same premium with slight variations allowed for age and tobacco use (starts January 1, 2014).
  • The insurance company can’t drop your coverage when you get expensive sick.
  • The insurance company can’t put lifetime limits on how much they will pay for your health care.
  • The insurance company can’t put yearly limits on how much they will pay for your health care (starts January 1, 2014).
  • The insurance company must pay for preventative care check-ups without charging a co-pay (starts in 2018).
  • The insurance company must pay for childhood immunizations.
  • Children don’t have to buy their own health care policies until they are 26 years old.
  • The insurance company must spend 80-85% of your premiums on your health care; if they don’t, they have to send you a rebate check.

The 111th Congress also passed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 which, among other things, closes the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole”. The “donut hole” refers to a policy of the private Medicare Part D/Medicare Advantage plans  (putting ‘Medicare’ in the name was a brilliant trick as these plans are not part of actual government-funded Medicare); the “donut hole” policy is that every year seniors have their drugs covered until the insurance company pays $2,800; after that, the insurance company pays nothing until the senior citizen pays $4,550. After the senior citizen hits that amount, then the insurance company has to pay 95% of the senior’s drugs for the rest of the year. The whole thing restarts again the next year.

Bill Highlights

H.R. 45 is only three pages long and is quite straightforward; here are the contents:

Section 1: Repeals

Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

  • Two provisions that create the Independent Medicare Advisory Board – which is charged with reducing the growth of Medicare spending – are the only ones that will remain.

Repeals the health care related portions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Bill Status

President Obama will never sign a bill repealing ObamaCare.

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