I’d actually like to share a few things you might not know about healthcare reform. Let’s get right to it before I lose you to a search for YouTube’s “Top 10 Funny Baby Videos.”

My husband works in the healthcare industry and has been blabbering on discussing the legislation for months. These are the things I find interesting and easy to understand:

Fact 1. The mandate part of the law is not a mandate (or a tax, or even really a penalty). Everyone knows about the “mandate,” which supposedly imposes a penalty on folks who can afford to buy insurance but don’t have it. EXCEPT, the penalty won’t be enforced. Seriously. This is what the act itself says: “In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.”

Whatever you choose to call it (I propose “SheDate.” Or “Mandate–Not”), less than 2% of the US population will be affected by this part of the law. And, seeing as the penalty won’t be enforced, I guess it’s more like 0%.

Fact 2. Many of us will get checks. Actual checks, people. Obamacare says that private insurance companies may spend only 15-20% of your premium dollars on overhead, salaries, and admin. They must spend the rest on your health care. Go figure. If they spend less on your health care than they’re supposed to, they must send you a check directly.

Fact 3. Obamacare addresses some of the more egregious past practices of insurance companies: no lifetime caps, no refusal of coverage for “pre-existing” conditions, and children can remain on their parents’ coverage longer.

Fact 4. The law will require small businesses to offer health insurance and will reward those businesses with a subsidy for doing so.

Fact 5. Free preventive care for things like mammograms and neonatal exams. NO CO-PAYS.

Yee-haw. I’m going to schedule my colonoscopy right now.



  1. Here are some more facts from The Dark Side (We have t-shirts for new members!):

    1. CBO estimate of $1.76 TRILLION in new costs over the first 10 years of the law. Just the first 10 years and that estimate has already increased from an original $976 billion. The CBO estimate also assumes Congress will follow-through on other cost-related measures. (Congress & follow-through?!? LOL!)

    2. The Penalty which you claim “will not be enforced” is actually the penalty (or criminal prosectuion) for not paying the original penalty/tax/surcharge for getting healthcare insurance. This penalty/tax/surcharge will be part of your federal tax return in 2014(?), so yes, you will be paying THAT original penalty. (What you speak of is what would happen if you don’t pay it. Not too many people are likely to cheat on their taxes and take that chance.)

    3. Any business – no matter how small or how large – can decide not to offer or to rescind any health insurance or benefit contribution they make on your behalf by simply paying just a $2000 per year tax/penalty/surcharge per employee. In the long run, when employers start adding in the costs of administering their healthcare programs, not offering health insurance to employees will be CHEAPER than offering it.

    4. If I ever see a rebate check from my health insurance provider, I’ll eat my keyboard! These companies are not stupid, so you can bet dollars-to-doughnuts that they will find a way to keep whatever is paid to them in premiums. There’s always a loophole.

    Sorry for such a long-winded comment. The ACA is a personal bugaboo.

    • Dear Darth Vader:
      Long-wind away. No worries. Love it.
      I appreciate your comment. Obviously, this is a hot button for many people and I think respectful conversations about it can only be good. Here is my (also long-winded) response.

      1. The CBO estimate to which you refer (from March of 2012) refers primarily to those portions of the ACA expanding Medicaid funding. Naturally, the estimate highlights these costs. The estimate does not account for potential savings from other parts of the ACA like the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Here is the CBO’s release (http://cbo.gov/publication/43080).

      2. I think we’re splitting hairs over the mandate. It’s just not as cut and dried as it seems to be portrayed. The real point, for me anyway, is the policy necessity — bring healthy people on to insurance to lower societal costs.

      3. If businesses chose to pay the penalty, that’s fine, and, by the way, entirely consistent. Again, the point is that the ACA, among many other things, shifts the burden to those that chose not to buy insurance (for themselves or, in the case of businesses, for their employees). In this way, there are no (or fewer) free loaders. Your arguement also takes a narrow view of labor “costs”.

      4. I guess we’ll have to wait and see about the insurance checks. In the meantime, I’d buy a non-toxic keyboard.

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