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The US has seen its share of healthcare bills passed by various Presidents. These bills are passed in order to bring in healthcare reforms and make the system transparent. The Affordable Healthcare for America Act passed in November 2009 is a legislative bill of the US House of Representatives during a session in the 111th Congress.[br] This Act is a revision of an earlier proposal, The America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. President Obama addressed the joint session of Congress for healthcare reforms. The Bill was finally passed by the US Senate.
Healthcare Bill: Key Changes to the Bill
Some of the changes made by the legislation include:
· Healthcare insurance providers are prohibited to deny coverage based on patients’ medical histories
· Healthcare insurers are prohibited to charge different rates based on patients’ medical histories and gender
· Establishment of standards for qualified health benefit plans
· Abortion coverage was restricted in any plan where federal funds are used
· The scope of Medicaid has been expanded to include more low-income American families by increasing the eligibility limits to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level
· Low and middle income Americans were given subsidies to buy insurance plans
· Establishment of a health insurance exchange where people can compare different health policies and rates
· A 5.4% tax levied on individuals whose gross income exceeds $500,000
· A 2.5% excise tax on medical devices
· The Bill introduced a $2500 limit to contributions on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
Healthcare Bill: Controversies
Both Democrats and Republicans were divided on the merits and salient features of the new healthcare bill. In the 243-183 win by the Democrats, only 11 Democrats voted against the bill. The Republicans described the $200 billion as a political payoff to physicians who supported President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.[br]
While it may seem impossible to assess the impact of the plan on Americans until it’s fully institutionalized and implemented, Americans should look for alternative options. People on Medicare may also explore other options like Medicare Advantage Plans. Another option to explore can be Medicare Supplement plans to cover the cost of increasing prices in healthcare that are not covered by conventional Medicare plans.