What Does the Affordable Care Act Mean for You?

Deborah K. Mayer

health policy, public policy
CJON 2013, 17(1), 13-13. DOI: 10.1188/13.CJON.13

The national elections are over and we can now focus more on what changes will be occurring in health care related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although we may be familiar with these terms, we may not have paid much attention to the details. The ACA was introduced to Congress in 2009, signed into law in 2010, and was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. The ACA is the largest mandated healthcare change since Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Implementation began in 2010 and will continue to roll out through 2015 (see Figure 1). The main aspects of the ACA include enhancing access to health care by increasing the number of insured Americans, reducing overall healthcare costs, holding insurance companies accountable to make care more affordable, and improving outcomes while streamlining delivery (HealthCare.gov, 2013). These changes are long overdue; the system has become increasingly unsustainable given how much more money the United States spends compared to other developed countries while still experiencing poorer outcomes (PBS Newshour, 2012).

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    HealthCare.gov. (2013). Read the law. Retrieved from http://www.healthcare.gov/law/full/index.html
    Moy, B., Abernethy, A., & Peppercorn, J. (2012). Core elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and their relevance to the delivery of high-quality cancer care. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/VKqIbM
    PBS Newshour. (2012). Health costs: How the U. S. compares with other countries. Retrieved from http://to.pbs.org/Rdn8aK