"There are two Affordable Care Acts. There's the legislation passed by Congress in 2009, and then there's the mythical Affordable Care Act – the perfidious 'government takeover' decried and demagogued by so many conservatives (and quite a few liberals). The former is quite popular, the latter gets decidedly mixed reviews."
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Timeline for Implementation
"Anyone expecting to see major changes to the health care system in the next few months or years is liable to be disappointed. Although some insurers and businesses have begun raising rates and taking other preemptive actions in anticipation of changes to come, most of the major provisions of the legislation are phased in quite slowly. As Table 2 shows, the most heavily debated aspects, mandates, subsidies, and even most of the insurance reforms don’t begin until 2014 or later.
A handful of small changes began last year, notably a provision allowing parents to keep their children on the parent’s policy until the child reaches age 26 and a ban on preexisting-condition exclusions for children. There was also a $250 rebate to seniors whose prescription drug costs fell within the Medicare Part D 'donut hole.' A few other provisions, notably the small business tax credits, kick in this year. From here on, however, there will be few benefits from the law until 2014 or later. At the same time, with the exception of the tax on tanning beds, most of the new taxes in the new law do not start until 2012 or later. The individual and employer mandates do not come into effect until 2014. In fact, some aspects of the new law, such as the tax on 'Cadillac' insurance plans do not take place until 2018. The Medicare prescription drug 'donut hole' is not scheduled to be fully eliminated until after 2020.
This means there remains time to repeal or at least make significant changes to the legislation before most of it takes effect. If not, this legislation will be very bad news for American taxpayers, businesses, health care providers, and patients."
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