Many of our NeedyMeds users have asked us to help them figure out what healthcare reform, or Obamacare, will mean for them and for their families or clients.  This is understandable because the law is complex, with both state and federal governments playing a role in implementation.

Some of the more common questions include these:

  • I am uninsured right now. The new law says I have to buy insurance. What happens if I can’t afford it? What will happen if I don’t buy it?
  • Can I keep the health insurance I already get from my work?
  • Can I get health insurance even if I already have health problems?
  • I am a senior citizen. What will happen to my health coverage with the new law?

To help answer these and other questions, and provide clear guidance, we recommend reading Kaiser Health News’ “A Consumer’s Guide To The Health Law,” which provides a clear and concise overview of the ACA.

Some analysts argue that there could be modifications to reduce federal spending as part of a broader deficit deal; for now, this is just speculation. What is clear is that the law will have sweeping ramifications for consumers, state officials, employers and health care providers, including hospitals and doctors.

While some of the key features don’t kick in until 2014, the law has already altered the health care industry and established a number of consumer benefits. For example, the extension of coverage to adult children up to age 26, the elimination of lifetime spending caps and ability

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The outcome of the November Presidential election also decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ron Pollack, Executive Director, Families USA says: “The election has settled key issues about the directions our nation’s healthcare will take: It means Obamacare will be implemented, the Medicaid safety net will be strengthened, and Medicare’s guaranteed benefits will not be undermined. As a result, people across America will gain peace of mind knowing that high-quality, affordable healthcare will be there for themselves and their loved ones,”(Healthcare Finance News). This means that implementation will go forward.

This is good news for all Americans, but especially for those who are presently uninsured. But how will this work?  The ACA has two main pillars, each of which will be decided on a state-by-state basis:

1) Create a health insurance exchange

2) Expand Medicaid

Each state will have the option of setting up their own health insurance exchange (state-run), allowing the federal government to set up and operate an exchange on behalf of the state (federally-run), or create a state-federal partnership where both entities

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Welcome to the NeedyMeds Blog! We are pleased to bring you our inaugural post, and we look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today

My name is Julie Kautz Mills and I am Director of Outreach at NeedyMeds. My academic background is in bioethics, education and psychology, and I spent 16 years working in healthcare administration in the Boston area. I’ve lived in two Canadian provinces and four European countries, and thus have had the opportunities to experience other healthcare systems.

So what IS healthcare? Is healthcare a right, to be provided for all citizens by government mandate? Or, is it a choice, to be decided by individuals? Who should decide? And who should pay? And what happens if you cannot pay? These are potentially problematic questions, however I think we can all agree that each and every one of us has needed, or will need, healthcare during

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