Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) myths: “It all starts on Jan. 1, 2014”

Republicans who want to “stop” Obamacare should know better: Not only is the Affordable Care Act already a law [not just a bill up on Capitol Hill], passed in 2010, some of its provisions have already taken effect.  And that fact—those provisions, to be precise—are probably part of the reason that Republicans are so scared of “Obamacare:” It’s good for people, and people generally like stuff that benefits them. The parts of the law that are already working are very popular—even among people who don’t know that the “Obamacare” that they purport to oppose and the Affordable Care Act that is already helping them are the same thing.

Here are some provisions of the Affordable Care Act that started up before the Oct. 1, 2013 opening of the health insurance exchanges.

– The Food and Drug Administration has the power to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices)

– People on Medicare get higher rebates on prescription drugs (so drugs cost less).

-Insurance companies cannot discriminate based on a disability, or because an applicant was the victim of domestic abuse in the past (yes, insurers really did deny coverage for that).

-Health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won’t get any more coverage because they have hit a “lifetime limit”. Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance,that company can’t tell that person that he’s used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won’t cover him any more. They can’t do this for lifetime spending, and they’re limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending

– Children can continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26. [More than 2 million people have already taken advantage of this provision.]

-No more “pre-existing conditions” for kids under the age of 19.

– Insurers can’t just drop customers once they get sick.

– Any new health plans must provide preventative care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge.

– 80 percent of the health-insurance premium costs have to go to health care – if it doesn’t, you get a rebate. About 8.5 million people received such rebates in 2013.

-Employers must list, on employees’ tax forms, the benefits they provided to their workers.


These changes are making a difference in many people’s lives, but many who are reaping the benefits don’t even know that they come to them courtesy of “Obamacare.” The nihilists in Congress, and their right-wing funders would be delighted to keep these goodies a secret. But facts are facts, and as more beneficial provisions kick in–as they did after previous fights over Social Security and Medicare–we can only hope that the arguments against the Affordable Care Act will be rendered moot by public opinion.