Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Ppaca)

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I. Overview
The purpose of this paper is to present a brief overview and timeline of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 and to discuss its potential impact on healthcare access, costs and quality, and insurance companies. .
II. Healthcare Reform Timeline
The PPACA includes comprehensive reforms that will take place over the next four years. It is intended to hold insurance companies more accountable, protect consumers, lower health care costs, increase the quality of care and provide more health care choices and improved access for all Americans. Some of the major provisions and their effective dates are outlined in the following sections.
A. 2010
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B. Improving Quality and Lowering Costs
The payment incentives provided to healthcare providers under the PPACA will most likely lead to improved healthcare quality. In addition, reimbursement will shift from being based on quantity to being value-based which will in turn incentivize providers to provide higher quality care.
Although the Congressional Budget Office reported that the PPACA will reduce the U.S. budget deficit, it is doubtful and remains to be seen what will actually happen. Also, it is anticipated that businesses will pay the fines imposed by the PPACA because it will be cheaper than obtaining insurance coverage for the employees.
C. Holding Insurance Companies Accountable
A major pro of the PPACA is that it establishes several new rules and controls for insurance companies including requiring that they cannot deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, must spend a certain percentage of premiums collected on actual patient care costs. These new rules provide protection for consumers and ensure insurance companies are held accountable for the care and services provided to patients that are enrolled in their plans.
Another major issue that has raised considerable debate and even led to law suits being filed is the constitutionality of the PPACA. Those who oppose healthcare reform argue that it is unconstitutional for Congress to require that every person purchase health insurance. However, the PPACA improves access to healthcare which
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