Obamacare 101 - How the Affordable Care Act Affects You

How does Obamacare affect you? Learn everything you need to know about the Affordable Care Act — in just 90 seconds! Plus, hear from patients and health care policy experts with opposing views on Obamacare. And, The Doctors weigh in on how the hot-button health issue impacts them.

The Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was signed into law March 23, 2010, by President Barack Obama. Considered the biggest extension of federal health care benefits since Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965, the law is designed to provide access to insurance coverage to the 48 million uninsured Americans and requires all Americans to obtain some form of coverage. Regardless of your political views on the law, it is important to understand how it will affect you and what options are being made available as a result of its passage.

As the December 23rd deadline to enroll for coverage that will begin January 1, 2014 quickly approaches, The Doctors clear up the confusion surrounding the law and offer their thoughts on the state of health care in United States today.

The Doctors debate the
politics of health care.

ACA experts Dr. Kavita Patel, Jonathan Gruber and
Thomas Miller weigh in on how effective the new law will be.

Will the Affordable Care Act make it easier for families to see a doctor?

• See The Doctors’ ACA in Less Than 90 Seconds video and learn how the new law will affect you.  
• Learn which U.S. states have opted out of expanding Medicaid. 
• Under the Affordable Care Act, all insurance plans on the public exchange must meet a specific set of requirements. Find out the 10 health benefits that all plans must include under the health care law.

Effects of Obamacare
Two audience members share their personal experiences with the new law.

After being denied coverage due to a preexisting condition, Erica explains how the insurance
coverage she obtained under ACA allowed her to get a life-saving surgery that she otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford.

Edie, who has battled stage 4 gallbladder cancer,
expresses her frustration at having to choose which doctors she will keep after losing her preferred insurance plan due to the law's new standards.

• Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at MIT, explains how ACA is projected to affect consumers and the economy. Plus, why have some people received cancellation letters from their insurance companies?

The Doctors and USA Weekend

The Doctors has an exciting partnership with USA Weekend magazine as the exclusive medical contributors to its weekly HealthSmart column!

• Latest: Tracking your workout.

• Check out USA Weekend for more information.
• See which local newspapers feature USA Weekend.

ACA: Myth or Reality?
The Doctors sort fact from fiction in the rumors surrounding the new health care law.

• Will elderly cancer patients over the age of 75 be denied treatment under the Affordable Care Act?

No. There are no age limits to care and no changes to Medicare patient benefits.

• Is it true that smokers may pay more for coverage?

 Under ACA, you cannot be charged more if you have a preexisting condition, or if you’re a woman, but you can be charged up to 50 percent more if you smoke.

• Will Obamacare provide financial assistance to undocumented immigrants to buy health insurance?

 The law explicitly bars unauthorized immigrants from using the new insurance exchanges and from applying for tax subsidies.

ACA Final Thoughts
While it is unclear, as of yet, how effective the new health care law will be or how it may change and evolve as time goes on, The Doctors emphasize the importance of taking responsibility for your personal health and understanding your options. As family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross points out, "For the first time ever, prevention and wellness is covered."

"As an individual, you can make [the ACA] as successful as possible by researching your options," ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "Look at the various plans that are available to you in your state, figure out what's right for you and your family. And remember this: The reason we call them emergencies is because they can't be predicted. Your emergency could happen tomorrow or next year, so that's why coverage is so very important."