The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to simply as the ACA or Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The ACA is intended to expand access to health insurance coverage for millions of uninsured Americans by expanding eligibility for Medicaid and developing health insurance marketplaces where uninsured persons may be eligible for subsidies to make private health plans more affordable. While expanding access to health insurance is a big part of the ACA, there are many other purposes of the law, including provisions intended to reform the health care delivery system to produce better patient outcomes at lower cost.
AOTA was very active in the legislative process leading up to the passage and signing of the ACA, working to achieve victories such as inclusion of rehabilitation and habilitation in the essential health benefits package. AOTA has also been monitorting the regulatory process at the federal and state levels as the ACA has been implemented, and has been advocating for occupational therapy practitioners and consumers. The dynamic environment created by health care reform creates opportunities, but vigilant monitoring of implementation activities and carefully executed advocacy efforts are necessary to ensure occupational therapy is valued and protected in the future.
Please also see the Health Care Reform Implementation page on AOTA's website at: http://www.aota.org/Advocacy-Policy/Health-Care-Reform.aspx
A recent post on the blog post from Stateside Associates explains how new enrollees into Medicaid programs will impact state budgets:
"All states, regardless of whether they opted to enact expanded eligibility levels, will experience increases in enrollment and costs tied to increased participation among those currently eligible for Medicaid as a result of enrollment simplification and coordination with the new exchanges. However, expansion is not what will drive the costs associated with more currently eligible Medicaid enrollees. States will be required to pay the additional administrative costs as well as the higher share of coverage for eligible citizens outside the expansion who are not now enrolled but who would likely do so after the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate goes into effect in 2014."
The author suggests that "Non-expansion states are facing a surge of Medicaid enrollees and will continue to have large uninsured populations. Both categories will contribute to increased state spending. The resulting fiscal pressures will compel many non-expansion states to accept expansion and the associated federal dollars that come with it."
Read the full blog post online at: http://statesideassoc.wordpress.com/
This blog posting also draws attention to discussions about the number of people that have signed up for Obamacare. As the numbers come across the wire, it will interesting to see how those figures are calculated.
The Advisory Board Company has article about this topic:
How many people have enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges? (information from 15 state based exchanges)http://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing/Resources/Primers/Obamacare-enrollment-tracker
It is important to note that this chart includes those that have signed up for insurance in the exchanges and those that have signed up for Medicaid. For example, the chart indicates that in Washington state, 48,995 people have picked a plan.The source document for that figure (press release - http://www.wahbexchange.org/news-resources/press-room/oct-28-data-release) includes this chart:
Qualified Health Plans
Medicaid Newly Eligible/Coverage Jan. 1