Rolf Norfolk Blog | HEALTHCARE USA: A Guide To "Obamacare" (the Affordable Care Act) | Talkmarkets
Editor at Broad Oak Magazine
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Rolf is an Oxford-educated British IFA, now retired. Rolf has been a bear from the late 90s on, hence the byline "Sackerson" (a famous 16th century bear on London's animal-baiting circuit). Rolf runs the Broad Oak Magazine blog; originally named "Bearwatch", it was set up ... more

HEALTHCARE USA: A Guide To "Obamacare" (the Affordable Care Act)

Date: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 7:44 AM EDT

Sackerson has asked me to write a short piece on the effects of the Affordable Care Act, based on my 39 years of fighting insurance companies in the US.

Since this is primarily for readers in the UK, it helps to understand that many Americans do not consider healthcare to be a right, or even an issue of infrastructure. The fact that it is referred to as the 'healthcare industry' should show that the emphasis is on the money.

There are many different programs for it, including:

·         Veteran's Administration – a completely separate set of doctors, hospitals and testing facilities, paid through the Defense budget, only for those who have served in the Armed Forces. In the past two decades, its funding has been reduced by conservatives. The inevitable problems which have arisen during two wars have been used as justification that the system should be privatized.

·         Medicare – a federal program for the elderly and disabled, paid by payroll taxes. Ever since it was introduced by President Johnson in his Great Society initiative, it has been another target of conservatives.

·         Medicaid – for the poor, paid by a mixture of state funds and payroll taxes. Also introduced in the Great Society and yet another target for anti-government conservatives.

·         Group insurance through employers – lose your job, lose your coverage. Only available if you work enough hours.

·         Group insurance through unions – rapidly going away as the unions do.

·         Group insurance through small business co-ops – typically expensive.

·         Personal purchase – very expensive.

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