A new era of health care coverage in America is set to begin this week, when some provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act officially begin to be enforced by law. Many of the changes will be phased in over the next several years, but the debate over whether the legislation is good for the country continues to rage on, especially as the November midterm elections draw near.
President Barack Obama spent much of Wednesday touting the legislation's new "Patient's Bill of Rights," and, via the White House website, attempted to combat what the administration calls lingering "myths" about the new law.
"The Affordable Care Act is already making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans," Obama wrote in a letter posted at Whitehouse.gov. "And starting tomorrow, the Patient's Bill of Rights goes into effect, ending some of the worst abuses of the insurance industry and putting you, not your insurance company, in control of your healthcare."
Citing fears over rising premiums, an ever-expanding debt and the expansion of the role of government, some of the president's Republican critics have been calling for a repeal of the legislation.
"You need to understand that in my opinion Obamacare will ruin the best health care system in the world and it will bankrupt our country," House Minority Leader John Boehner said recently on "Meet the Press."
1. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny children coverage for pre-existing conditions.
2. Children of parents with insurance will be allowed to remain covered under those policies until the age of 26.
3. Insurance companies will be forbidden from terminating coverage for any other reason than customer fraud.
4. Insurance companies will no longer be able to cap the amount of benefits and treatment a person can receive in a lifetime.
5. Insurers can no longer charge customers for preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies.
6. High-risk pools are mandated to cover those who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
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