The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News



Definition & Purpose

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The Act’s primary focus was to reduce the increase in the cost of health care. Obamacare allows people with pre-existing conditions to afford preventive care, in theory reducing hospital visits and slowing the rise of health care costs. 

To make sure insurance companies could afford to cover this influx in costly patients, Obamacare took measures to increase the overall pool of those covered. It did this by requiring everyone to have health insurance for at least nine months out of every twelve or be subject to a tax, however, the tax penalty was eliminated in 2019 because of changes made by the Trump Administration. (

A Brief History

In July 2009, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and a group of Democrats Representatives revealed their plan for overhauling the health care system with the Affordable Health Care for America Act (ACA). Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy died late August 2009 and puts the Senate Democrats’ 60-seat supermajority required to pass a piece of legislation without filibuster attempts at risk. Now lacking the 60th vote needed to invoke cloture, ending possible filibusters, Senate Democrats decide to use budget reconciliation in order to get the bill approved by the House and the Senate. The use of budget reconciliation only requires a simple majority to vote in favor in order for it to go to the president’s desk for signature.

March 21, 2010, the Senate’s version of the health care plan was approved by the House in a 219-212 vote. All Republicans and 34 Democrats vote against the plan. (


For Obamacare

  • Obamacare slows the rise of health care costs by providing insurance for millions and making preventive care free.
  • It includes treatment for mental health, addiction and chronic diseases.
  • Insurance companies can no longer deny anyone coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • Children can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans up to age 26.

Against Obamacare

  • Three to five million people lost their previous employment-based health insurance. Employers with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance. Otherwise, they pay a tax of $2,000 per worker each year if any of them receives federal subsidies to purchase health insurance. Individuals must buy coverage or face an additional tax fine ⁠— this started in 2015. Many businesses found it more cost-effective to pay the penalty and let their employees purchase insurance plans on the exchanges.
  • Medicare and Medicaid spurred demand for health care services, which gave providers the ability to raise prices. A Princeton University study found that Americans use the same amount of health care as residents of other nations, Americans just pay more for it. For example, U.S. hospital prices are 60


Recent Developments

Obamacare still faces potential extinction in the judiciary, as lawsuits pending in federal court repeal the law. Insurers have sued the federal government for $2.3 billion in unpaid “cost-sharing reduction” payments after the Trump administration stopped making the payments in 2017. This movement is led by Republicans, who remain hostile to the law. (

Public Opinion

ACA is deeply embedded in the American health care system, with over 10 million enrolled in Obamacare plans and millions more benefiting from expanded Medicaid in roughly two-thirds of states. Republicans largely disagree with the policy and the House approved the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in 2017 as a plan to repeal and replace the ACA. (

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