Newspaper article News Sentinel

Affordable Care Act Timeline

Newspaper article News Sentinel

Affordable Care Act Timeline

Article excerpt

Medicare was signed into law on July 30, 1965, and within a year seniors were receiving coverage. President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, and the uninsured start getting coverage almost four years later on Jan. 1, 2014. Some key dates in the saga of Obama's signature legislation:

March 23, 2010: Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Democrats hail an achievement their party pursued for more than 50 years -- individuals' right to health care. The law requires most Americans to carry health insurance starting in 2014, and bars insurers from turning away the sick. It creates state markets for middle-class people without workplace coverage to purchase private insurance, subsidized with tax credits. It expands Medicaid for the low-income uninsured. After long debate, the legislation barely passed a divided Congress, with no Republican support. Public opinion is split.

March 29, 2010: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the health insurance industry reach a deal to fix the first glitch emerging from the complex legislation: vague language that compromised a guarantee that children with pre-existing medical conditions could get coverage right away.

Fall 2010: During open enrollment, most health insurance plans begin offering coverage to young adults up to age 26 on a parent's policy. The popular early provision expanded coverage to more than 3 million people. Plans also begin covering preventive services at no charge.

Nov. 2, 2010: Democrats lose control of the House in midterm congressional elections. Republicans campaigned on a vow to "repeal and replace" the law.

Jan. 19, 2011: The Republican-led House votes to repeal "Obamacare," but the drive falters in the Senate, where Democrats retain a majority. Since then, the House has repeatedly voted to repeal, defund or in some way scale back the law. Republican replacement legislation has been stymied by divisions within the party.

Jan. 31, 2011: Florida U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson rules that the ACA is unconstitutional. The lawsuit by 26 states would ultimately reach the Supreme Court.

April 5, 2011: Congress votes to repeal an unpopular tax requirement in the law that would have forced millions of businesses to file tax forms for every vendor selling them more than $600 in goods. Agreeing to sign it, Obama says he'll make fixes as warranted.

June 21, 2011: The Obama administration says it will look for fixes to another glitch, a twist that would have let several million middle-class people receiving Social Security payments get nearly free insurance meant for the poor. Enacted later, the fix saved an estimated $13 billion over 10 years.

Summer 2011: Seniors hitting Medicare's prescription drug coverage gap start getting a 50 percent discount on brand name medications, part of the health care law's gradual closing of the "doughnut hole." In 2011, the typical senior in the gap saved about $600 on bills averaging $1,500.

Aug. 1, 2011: Sebelius, on the recommendation of an expert panel, declares that most health plans will have to cover birth control for women as a preventive service, free of charge. The coverage became available in 2013, as lawsuits proliferated from groups and businesses objecting on religious grounds. …

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