The Supreme Court has verified the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and upheld the majority of the law’s tenets. How will this affect you? Dr. Anthony Komaroff, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Publications, breaks down the key provisions below. These provisions will remain in force:
- Insurance companies will not be able to deny an individual coverage based upon a chronic medical condition, drop coverage if an individual becomes sick, or put limits on the amount of lifetime coverage a person can get.
- Young adults under age 26 can still be covered on their parents’ health plans.
- More low-income people will probably be covered by Medicaid, a health insurance program financed by both the federal government and the states.
Several unpopular provisions of the law will also remain in force:
- Starting in 2014, individuals will have to pay for insurance. The law will function to make the cost of health insurance more affordable for people who do not have coverage through employers, Medicaid or Medicare.
- Starting in 2014, many employers who do not currently offer health insurance will be required to do so or face a penalty.
Health care will continue to be provided largely by the private sector – private doctors and hospitals. For people under the age of 65, coverage will mainly be financed by private insurance companies, not the government. “Socialized Medicine” has been nothing but a title used as a scare tactic by those opposed to the Administration’s support for the law.
How will the new law affect naturopathic medicine? Currently, 16 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. As more people enter the insurance pool, the need for more primary care physicians will increase. Many states, including Alabama and Georgia already have a need for more primary care physicians. Hopefully, as time passes, the state legislatures will see the benefit of naturopathic licensure because Naturopaths are licensed as primary care physicians. Imagine if your insurance covered your wellness visits at Elements as well as your preventive care supplements. This is already the case in many states (New Hampshire just passed insurance coverage for naturopaths last month) and hopefully Georgia will not be far behind.
Jonathan Powell, ND