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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Health Care: Presidential Candidate Comparison

Medicare

Medicare, the government health care plan for the disabled and Americans 65 and older, covers around 48 million people. It is an expensive program, and at the current rate of spending it is estimated that Medicare would run out of the money necessary to cover benefits by 2024.

President Obama (D)

  • Keep traditional Medicare. Slow costs by cutting $716 billion in payments to doctors and hospitals. Seniors' benefits would not change.
  • Premiums adjust to reflect cost of living increases.
  • Close the prescription drug "donut hole" by 2020 so seniors have less out-of-pocket costs for medications.
  • Cover preventive services such as annual doctor visits and screening tests without a co-payment or deductible.

Gov. Romney (R)

  • Transform Medicare into a market based system called "premium support," also known as vouchers.
  • Give beneficiaries a set amount of money to buy a plan of their choice, including traditional Medicare.
  • No cuts to Medicare funding.
  • Increase eligibility age from 65 to 67.
  • Provide less "premium support" to wealthier Americans.
  • Changes would start in 10 years.

Medicaid

Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was supposed to expand to cover an additional 17 million low-income Americans. However, the Supreme Court's ruling from earlier this year may change that because states can choose not to take part in the plan.

President Obama (D)

  • Cover people with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level -- $15,415 for individuals and $31,809 for a family of four in 2012.
  • Cover 100% of state costs to expand coverage between 2014 and 2016. Coverage reduced to 90% by year 2020.
  • No coverage for people in this country illegally.

Gov. Romney (R)

  • Turn Medicaid into a block grant program. Give states a set amount of money to spend as they choose.

Pre-Existing Conditions

People with pre-existing conditions have real problems with insurance. Often they can't get it, or if they can it's extremely expensive.

President Obama (D)

  • Insurance companies cannot deny coverage to a child due to a pre-existing condition.
  • When the health reform law takes full effect Jan. 1, 2014, insurers can no longer deny coverage or charge more to anyone for a pre-existing condition.
  • Until 2014, the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) allows people denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition to buy coverage at a reasonable rate.

Gov. Romney (R)

  • Protect people with pre-existing conditions who already have continuous coverage. This protection is currently offered under the law.
  • People with pre-existing conditions find coverage on open market or through high-risk pools set up by the states.

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