Obamacare Pros and Cons: Everything You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

The ACA is a significant and unprecedented act of Congress. Unfortunately, it'd take ages to review all of the impacts of the 900-page law, which has transformed America's healthcare system. Fortunately for you, this article briefly sums up the law's most prominent aspects and its pros and cons.

Your political preferences may influence your opinion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a Obamacare. Even over a decade after its introduction, Americans largely disapprove of the ACA on party lines. According to a 2020 Gallup Survey, 84% of Democrats approve of the ACA among self-identified politicians, while 87% of Republicans disapprove.

Disagreements are unavoidable in discussions on the pros and cons of Obamacare. Your priorities will likely play a significant role in how you analyze the ACA. When asked, most Americans preferred certain ACA aspects over others. Keep reading, and you will find a summary of the Act’s most significant and controversial elements and its pros & cons.

Obamacare explained

“Obamacare” is another name for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This plan aimed to make healthcare more affordable for everyone by lowering costs for those Americans who find it challenging to afford them.

A lot of people believe Obamacare only affects health insurance. But it has changed how the U.S. delivers healthcare overall. The term “Obamacare” was introduced by critics of former President Barack Obama’s efforts to reform healthcare. However, the name stuck, and the ACA became popularized as Obamacare.

Affordable Care Act

In 2010, The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was signed into law to provide affordable health insurance coverage for more Americans. In addition, the ACA was designed to protect consumers from insurance company tactics that drive up patient costs or restrict care.

The ACA made essential changes to how many people can access healthcare. For example, insurance companies could exclude people with preexisting conditions from coverage. As a result, the people with the most significant health expenses sometimes had to go without insurance or settle for a policy that didn’t cover their condition. Often, they ended up in hospital emergency rooms, unable to contribute to treatment expenses.

Effects of the Affordable Care Act

Millions of Americans benefit by receiving insurance coverage through the ACA.

The ACA mandates that hospitals, doctors, and pharmacists work together like never before. Firstly, all medical records have been digitized. Computerized records allow doctors to share their diagnoses and treatments easily.

Secondly, Medicare pays hospitals based on how well they get, instead of how many tests and procedures doctors prescribe. As a result, healthcare costs should drop.

Third, healthcare providers form Accountable Care Organizations, which coordinate your care between your doctor and your specialists. You probably thought that was already happening. It’s not. Miscommunication between doctors was the most significant cause of unexpected patient deaths in 2010. After the ACA, the healthcare industry acknowledged integrated care is the future, and they are already making the shift in that direction. These improvements include:

  • All plans must provide ten essential health benefits. All programs offered in the Marketplace cover these Ambulatory services (care you get outside the hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
  • Services for mental health issues and substance abuse
  • Prescriptions
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services
  • Laboratories
  • Chronic disease management
  • Preventive and wellness services
  • Pediatric services

Plans must also include the following benefits:

  • Birth control coverage
  • Breastfeeding coverage

Essential health benefits are basic requirements for Marketplace plans. Particular services covered in each broad benefit category may vary depending on your state’s requirements. Plans may offer extra benefits like dental coverage, Vision coverage, Medical management programs (for specific needs like weight management, back pain, and diabetes)

When comparing plans, you’ll see what each one offers.

  • Plans can no longer exclude those with pre-existing illnesses.
  • Businesses can no longer drop those who get unhealthy.
  • Parents can add their children until age 26 on their plans.
  • Lifetime limits are eliminated.
  • Annual limits are eliminated.

Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA are healthcare policies and programs that significantly affect healthcare. The Medicaid and Medicare programs fundamentally altered how individuals living in poverty and seniors obtained healthcare. Similarly, the Affordable Care enactment Act enactment in 2010 represented some of the most dramatic healthcare reforms the U.S. had ever seen.

Criticism of Affordable Care Act

By the end of 2021, 31 million Americans had availed themselves of health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. But the Act ranks among the most controversial healthcare policies.

The Affordable Care Act is criticized for putting an already stressed U.S. healthcare system under more stress. The law is projected to lead to a marked increase in the cases the system deals with yearly. In addition, as care becomes more affordable, the number of those seeking treatment will grow, leading to increased demand for professionals in different fields in the healthcare industry.

Proponents of the Affordable Care Act acknowledge they can make improvements. Therefore, they will continue reforming the Act to address the prices of premiums, deductibles, and coverage gaps in states that failed to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act.

Since more Americans acquire health insurance under the Act’s provisions, the increase in case volume will pose new and challenging logistical problems. How effectively the Government and the healthcare industry can overcome these challenges will be critical to the Affordable Care Act’s future and the healthcare system. Despite the challenges faced by the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to note that the U.S. The Supreme Court has upheld the Act on multiple occasions. Below is a briefly comprehensive summary of the pros and cons of Obamacare:


More inclusive and improved coverage

Before Obamacare, there existed few standards for how insurance companies would operate. After Obamacare, health insurance g has better coverage and includes more procedures like mental health & care for maternity-related issues.

Among popular features of the ACA is the rule that prevents health insurance from refusing coverage for people with preexisting health problems. Before the ACA, companies could deny coverage to anyone with a health issue looking for insurance. Or impose exorbitant rates upon them. As a result, patients with preexisting conditions can be unprofitable for insurers. It’s estimated that one in four Americans have a preexisting health condition.

Pre-existing conditions like cancer made it challenging for many people to avail themselves of health insurance before Obamacare. Most insurance companies refused to cover treatment for these conditions, arguing the illness or injury occurred before the plans covered them. After the ACA, you can’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing health problem.

The ACA covers a lot of screenings & preventive services, which usually have low copayments or deductibles. As a result, healthy consumers will gradually lead to lower costs. For instance, early treatment because of a diabetes screening can help prevent costly and debilitating treatment in the future.

Before the ACA, people with chronic health problems could run out of insurance coverage. As a result, insurance companies set limits on how much money they would spend on individuals.

They can no longer maintain a preset dollar limit on the coverage they provide their customers.

Sixteen million Americans obtained health insurance during the initial years of the ACA. These newly insured people consist of a large percentage of Young adults. In addition, in states choosing to expand their program, Medicaid coverage now includes uninsured Americans under 138% of the level of federal poverty.

Children can be insured under their parent’s health plan until they’re 26 years old.

More affordable for many

Now insurance companies must utilize at least eighty percent of insurance premiums on medical care. The ACA aims to keep insurance companies from increasing rates unreasonably. Of course, insurance coverage isn’t free, but people now have a more comprehensive range of coverage options. In addition, subsidies make purchasing health insurance easier for those eligible. Also, the implementation of the 80/20 rule means 80% of your premium dollars is spent on healthcare instead of administrative costs.

The ACA resolved to make prescription drugs more affordable. However, many people, particularly senior citizens, can not afford all their medications. Hopefully, the number of prescription and generic drugs covered by the ACA will continue to grow with time. Medicare beneficiaries saved more than $26.8 billion on prescription drugs under Obamacare, according to a press release from 2017 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


Expenses, fines, and taxes

The Government spends $1.27 trillion on healthcare alone, more than any other budget item. For example, the fiscal year 2021 budget includes Medicare benefits of $722 billion and Medicaid at $448 billion.

Insurance companies now provide a more comprehensive range of benefits and cover people with preexisting conditions, resulting in premiums rising for many people who already had health insurance.

The Government passed several new taxes to help pay for the ACA, including medical devices and pharmaceuticals sales. In addition, taxes were increased for people with high incomes. Medicare payments also fund the ACA. Therefore, the wealthy have to help in subsidizing insurance for the poor. However, Some economists predict that the ACA will help reduce the deficit and may eventually positively impact the budget in the long term.

The purpose of Obamacare is for people to be insured year-round. However, if you’re uninsured and didn’t obtain an exemption, you must pay a modest fine. Recent events have changed this, and the penalty has now been abolished. Some people think it’s invasive for the Government to require health insurance. However, ACA supporters argue that not having insurance passes your healthcare costs to everyone else.

Impact on businesses

Opponents of Obamacare claim the legislation would destroy jobs. In recent years, the number of full-time jobs has gone up. Still, there are reports of businesses excluding hours from their schedules for employees because companies can get by the 30-hour-per-week definition of full-time employee by reducing hours.

A lot of the criticism on ACA involves small businesses. The ACA can incentivize firms to keep their employee count artificially low since companies with more employees than a specific limit must provide health insurance for all employees. As a result, it affects how many people are employed full-time by small businesses. As a result, some companies may find it cost-effective to let their employees purchase their insurance on exchanges rather than provide employer-sponsored coverage.

What’s wrong with Obamacare in one sentence

The ACA has been dramatically controversial, despite the positive outcomes.

Obamacare facts and statistics

Regardless of your subscription status to Obamacare insurance, the Act is already affecting you. Know these facts to get all the benefits you can from this comprehensive piece of legislation.

Goals of Obamacare

The ACA’s main goal was controlling the rising prices of healthcare by making health insurance more inclusive and more affordable to Americans who need it most. The Act required everyone to carry health insurance or pay a tax penalty, but that provision ended in 2019.

How does Obamacare work?

The ACA intends to make health insurance more affordable for those with the lowest incomes by subsidizing the cost. The Government extended Medicaid to those who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level. However, as of 2021, 12 states had elected not to expand Medicaid, limiting accessibility for their residents.

Moreover, since the subsidies remain in place, Congress also ensured the Government would pick up a percentage of the rising costs.

The ACA benefits middle-class

Obamacare subsidies will cost the federal government $1.039 trillion from 2015 to 2024. Expanded Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program expenditures are 30% less: $792 billion. The ACA subsidies cover families earning roughly $47,000 – $94,000 yearly. The median income in the United States for a family of four members was $79,698, a figure that’s exactly in the middle.

What is Obamacare, and why is it bad?

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) drastically changed American healthcare. Since the beginning, the public has been almost evenly divided between those in support and those in opposition. It continues to be the case as the November monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation concluded that half of those polled had a favorable view of the health law, while only 46 percent viewed it unfavorably.

Before the law passed, researchers weren’t sure how health insurance would improve people’s lives. Then, of course, it made it possible for more people to use more health care services. But whether those services mattered was an unsettled question.

A recent series of persuasive studies have made clear to researchers that Obamacare did help Americans stay healthier.

“At this point now, there is enough evidence that we can say confidently that giving people health insurance produces health impacts and positive health changes,” said Benjamin Somers, a physician and researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“If you put all of it together, it seems like the A.C.A. did have a positive effect on health and caused a reduction in mortality,” said Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at the Kellogg School at Northwestern who had counted himself a skeptic before seeing the recent results.

However, it is natural for people who feel wronged to complain loudly while satisfied people silently go on with their lives. Ultimately, that is why it seems so many more people hate Obamacare than do.

Ultimately, whether Obamacare is good or not boils down to a subjective question where political preferences dictate the answer. But it’s important to note that while it isn’t hard to try and help more people, it would undoubtedly be unpreferable for people who don’t want to help people, mainly if it results in them paying more money. Perhaps the opposition to Obamacare reflects human nature and our collective failure to eradicate issues like world hunger. Simply because most people don’t want to prioritize caring for others, empathy would prevail in an ideal world, and we would value humans and their well-being more than the cash flow. But unfortunately, the illusory concept of money has become far more significant than actual human beings in the real world.

Obamacare will continue to be opposed by people regardless of the positive impacts. So is Obamacare good or bad? There are two possible answers to that question. If you consider the effects of the Act, it’s good. But if you don’t want people to be forced to contribute to helping those who are not as privileged, you wouldn’t be inclined to favor the Act. Healthcare shouldn’t be a luxury, but there will always be people who would rather pay for luxury for themselves rather than realize their responsibility as empowered citizens to help ensure that healthcare is guaranteed to people who need it.


The ACA has primarily functioned as designed. When boiled down to its simplest, the issue is that more and better coverage costs more money. Suppose you believe that the Federal Government should help Americans get decent health insurance plans. In that case, you are likely to approve of the ACA. Unless, however, you believe the Federal Government shouldn’t be involved. You may think that the ACA is disturbing the free market by taking more money from people who’d be better off finding health insurance on their own.

A lot of what’s discussed in this article is debatable. Arguably the ACA lowers the overall cost of healthcare and ultimately saves taxpayers money. But this comes from people in favor of instituting a single-payer healthcare system, hence keeping the ACA. Those in opposition say that it increases costs and is an unaffordable venture. This article does not take any stances and intends to inform.

Although Congress has made significant changes to Obamacare, the ACA remains.

President Trump managed to eliminate the individual mandates, so U.S. citizens without health insurance no longer pay the penalty. He also encouraged states to ask for “work requirements” before providing Medicaid. Beneficiaries must show proof that they’re either employed or in school. However, many work-requirement waivers are pending litigation as of December 2021. In addition, a new rule took effect on January 1, 2021, which requires hospital groups to disclose these prices to patients.

Republicans would like to repeal and replace Obamacare completely, but whether that will happen is still to be seen. In June 2020, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare. Instead, the Supreme Court left the law in place. Fixing the parts of ObamaCare is not the same as “repealing” ObamaCare. That would cost taxpayers billions. However, dealing with the pros and cons is already built into the law via oversight committees and other visionary provisions. So many aspects of the ACA are still in the early stages of growth. Time will tell how the ACA, ObamaCare, will impact America. However, the complexities and challenges associated with U.S. healthcare policies and programs present opportunities for healthcare leaders to make significant improvements in healthcare provision to all Americans.

The ACA is subject to changes. For example, the Government can amend the legislation, and budget decisions can affect its implementation. Moreover, changes in the healthcare field, combined with political differences, make it likely that the ACA will continue changing in years to come.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson was a few years out of school and took a job as a life insurance agent in California, selling coverage door-to-door for Prudential. The experience taught her about the technical components of insurance and its benefits for individuals and society, as well as the misunderstandings people often have about insurance. She has over ten years’ experience in the insurance industry, having worked as both a Broker and Underwriter, assisting clients across a broad range of industries. At Insurance Noon, Sarah diligently gathers all the required information and curates up pieces to provide meaningful insurance solutions. Her personal value proposition is to demonstrate a genuine interest in always adding value for clients.Her determined approach to guiding clients has turned her into a platinum adviser to multiple insurers.

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