About the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in March 2010. Some parts of the law are already in place and others will come online in the coming months and years. The ACA will transform the way health care is delivered and paid for. It will emphasize a more coordinated approach to care. That means patients will benefit from all providers - doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, and others – working together to deliver the best care at the right time, in the right place. To improve quality, doctors, hospitals and other health providers will only be paid when quality targets for care are met. This is a performance-based payment system. Electronic medical records will be crucial in this seamless process.
The year 2014 will be pivotal for the law. That is when all Americans are required to have health insurance (known as the individual mandate provision) and the numbers of uninsured Americans will begin to decline. The law provides credits and subsidies for small businesses, individuals, and those with employer-based insurance to participate affordably. However, the constitutionality of the individual mandate was challenged and the Supreme Court heard arguments about the law in March 2012. On Thursday, June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the individual mandate on individuals to purchase health insurance. (Click here to read the full statement on behalf of NorMet hospitals regarding this historic decision.)
Architects of the Affordable Care Act say its design will enhance care, improve coordination and communication among all health providers, and move everyone in the direction of cost savings. In fact, the nation's hospitals pledged $155 billion over the course of 10 years to help fund the law. By 2020, hospitals in the NorMet region will have contributed $1.4 billion in reimbursement cuts to the effort. This investment will be offset, in part, by the influx of insured patients.
The law will affect different age groups and segments of the population in different ways, at different times. The law tries to strike a reasonable balance between insurance reforms, provider cuts, and the individual mandate.
Related Links and More information:
- www.ppefny.org (Public Policy and Education Fund of New York)
- www.hcfany.org (Health Care For All New York)
- www.kaiserhealthnews.org (Kaiser Family Foundation)
- www.rwj.org (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
Health Care Associations:
- www.aha.org (American Hospital Association)
- www.hanys.org (Healthcare Association of New York State)
- www.nshc.org (Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council)
Consumer- Friendly, Illustrated Book:
Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works by economist Jonathan Gruber