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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Health Care: Presidential Candidate Comparison

Use this list to see how President Obama and Gov. Romney compare on eight health care issues.

Health Care Reform Overview

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and many of its provisions are now law. However, it’s not clear whether it will remain the law of the land until 2014, when it is to take full effect, as Gov. Romney has said he will repeal the law if elected.

President Obama (D)

  • New federal program to cover more than 30 million uninsured by 2014.
  • Requires insurance or pay a financial penalty.
  • Creates state insurance exchanges to offer competitively priced insurance.
  • Expands Medicaid by up to 17 million.
  • Tax credits for people with incomes that are between 138% and 400% of the poverty level (up to $92,200 annually for a family of four in 2012) to help pay for insurance.
  • Young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance plan up to the age of 26.
  • Guaranteed insurance coverage for children under the age of 19 with pre-existing health conditions. This guarantee will expand to all people with pre-existing conditions in 2014.
  • Cover many preventive services such as annual doctor visits, contraceptives, mammograms, and screening tests without a co-payment or deductible.
  • Requires most businesses to cover employees or pay a penalty.

Gov. Romney (R)

  • Work with Congress to repeal and replace "Obamacare."
  • Limit role of federal government in managing the health care markets. Encourage competition among insurance companies.
  • Consumers can get insurance through their employer or buy on the open market. Ideas include individual purchasing pools.
  • Would promote high-deductible insurance plans with lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Allow consumers to buy insurance across state lines.
  • Offer tax breaks to consumers who get insurance on the open market instead of through their employer.
  • Allow health savings accounts to be used for insurance premiums.
  • Protect people with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage as provided under current law.
  • Cap damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
  • Allow individuals and businesses to create pools to buy insurance.

Health Care Costs

Both parties agree that health care costs are spiraling out of control. But what is the best solution to the problem?

President Obama (D)

  • The health reform law is expected to cost $1.168 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office estimates. New taxes and program savings are expected to offset that spending and reduce the deficit by $84 billion.
  • Reduce costs by requiring insurance companies to spend 80% of revenues on health care; only 20% can be spent on administration.
  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) -- organizations within Medicare that financially reward doctors and hospitals that partner to deliver more coordinated, higher quality care, at lower costs.
  • Value-based purchasing -- a Medicare program that reimburses hospitals based on the cost and quality of care they deliver, not the quantity.
  • Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) -- a 15-member board, appointed by the president and subject to Senate confirmation, is charged with keeping Medicare spending down by implementing cost-saving measures if spending rises.
  • Greater authority to identify and prosecute for costly fraud and abuse.
  • Bringing down overall costs will result in lower premiums for consumers.

Gov. Romney (R)

  • Cost of overall plan undetermined.
  • Promote free markets, less regulation, and more competition.
  • Allow people to buy insurance across state lines, increasing competition.
  • Place a cap on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.
  • Transparency on pricing and services.

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