Breaking down the Affordable Care Act

By Catherine Ferris

With the recent passing of Obamacare, many people are left wondering what this means for them. Officially known as the Affordable Care Act, it was signed into law in 2010 and aims to make it easier and more affordable for Americans to get insured.


According to, “(with) right around forty-four million Americans not being able to get health care coverage this law was created to change that.” The law was created with low income Americans in mind, but every American will need health care insurance by Jan. 1, 2014 , or face a penalty.

If someone is charged with a penalty, it is important to know that simply paying the fine does not dismiss this person from acquiring coverage; everyone ultimately still remains responsible for getting health insurance.

Some of the key facts about the new Health Insurance Marketplace explained by include the “six-month enrollment period,” which is Oct. 1, 2013 until March 31, 2014; the fact that coverage begins as soon as Jan. 1, 2014; and the fact that “individuals may be eligible to get lower costs right away to help … pay for insurance in the Marketplace.”

According to a article, roughly half of the states in the country are still debating whether to embrace or reject a major portion of the law that expands Medicaid. CBS News also reported that fewer than one in five uninsured Americans have visited the state-based online marketplaces since they opened Oct. 1.

In a USA Today article, Deputy Director at Young Invincibles Jennifer Mishory said there will be three significant ways that students will be affected by the online marketplace: “Students who earn less than about $46,000 … may be able to access free coverage through Medicaid or discounted coverage through monthly tax credits depending on the state and their exact income level” and “(new) plans will provide free preventive services, annual checkups, prescriptions and substance use disorder services.”

Students nationwide will find themselves in a very similar situation to each other. They have an option to purchase their own health insurance plans while in school, but many who have the opportunity will opt to remain under their parents’ insurance until they become employed or until age 26, when they legally must adopt a new plan for themselves.

The University of Massachusetts offers a political science course named “The Politics of Affordable Health Care,” which discusses policy proposals, social trends and statistics. The various decisions of the Supreme Court are also analyzed.

The class also looks at the roots of the health care debate, which is implanted in health care facts and comparisons with other health care systems around the world. It reviews Obamacare precursors, beginning with President Harry Truman and ending with the Massachusetts Plan, which was signed by former governor Mitt Romney.

Catherine Ferris can be reached at [email protected]