Legal Matters: The Affordable Care Act – What the heck is it?

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was amended on March 30, 2010 with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act and together are known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA is the most significant overhaul of the US health care system since Medicare and Medicaid was enacted in 1965. On June 28, 2012, the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of this landmark piece of legislation.


Now, we all have heard many opinions and commentaries about the ACA through ACEP, the media, and of course physicians from all specialties; but does anyone know what it actually says? Better yet, what does it mean for us as emergency physicians?  In my next few posts, I’m going to try to tackle this massive topic and break it down into something that all of us can know and understand.


The 9 Components (Titles) of the ACA:


1.  Quality, affordable health care for all Americans

2.  Increasing the role of public programs


3.  Improving the quality and efficiency of health care


4.  Prevention of chronic disease and improving public health


5.  Health Care Workforce


6.  Maintaining Transparency and Program Integrity


7.  Improving access to innovative medical therapies


8.  Community living assistance services and supports


9.  Revenue provisions


Each of these nine components is extensively explained in the 900+ page act and will be simplified by me into a 5 part series.  Parts 2-4 will cover the 9 titles of the ACA, while part 5 will discuss ACEP’s stance on the ACA, as well as it’s projected effects on Emergency Medicine.


Before we get started here are some general things that you need to know:


1.  The reforms listed in the ACA will not be enacted all at the same time.  It is going to take until 2020 for all portions of the act to be in effect.


2.  The primary aims of this legislation is the decrease the number of uninsured Americans and to reduce the cost of healthcare.

3.  This legislation is very broad and the implications and ramifications of it are not fully understood by anyone.

Stay tuned for the next part of my ACA series covering the extension of public programs, the quality and efficiency of healthcare, and affordable healthcare for all.


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2 comments for “Legal Matters: The Affordable Care Act – What the heck is it?

  1. doty
    August 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm


  2. Ian deSouza
    August 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Can’t stand the suspense….

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