Obamacare at one year: What’s already in place?

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

On the anniversary of President Barack Obama signing his prized health care overhaul legislation into law, The Daily Caller is providing a breakdown of what Obamacare provisions have already been instituted. The day Obamacare hit the books one year ago, 150 new regulations immediately went into effect. Since then, 125 more regulations have gone into effect.

Children under age 19, for instance, can no longer be prevented from getting insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and dependents under age 26 can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans. Adults with pre-existing conditions can now join a temporary high-risk insurance market pool, which will dissolve in 2014 when Obamacare’s health care exchange takes effect.

Medicaid expansions began in April 2010, as states were given the option to increase Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty level for non-elderly people. Also, Medicaid recipients saw a 23 percent increase in reimbursement rates for name-brand prescription drugs.

In Obamacare’s first year, insurers were also restricted from placing lifetime dollar limits on certain health services deemed necessary. The first steps in restrictions on what limits or caps insurers can place on coverage plans kicked in during 2010 as well.

Obamacare in 2010 also saw the institution of “women’s health” offices at each of the following places: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA).

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was required by the health care law to create a pilot program of “community health centers” to test “at-risk individuals’ use of individualized wellness plans.” Obamacare also re-authorized and codified the “Community Preventive Services Task Force,” which states its mission as providing “recommendations on the use of screening, counseling, and other preventive services that are typically delivered in primary care settings.”

Obamacare provides for a new 15-member Health Workforce Commission, a bureaucratic board that works to remove communication barriers between different levels of government. The board has already been created and all 15 members have been appointed.

The sweeping health care overhaul also gave the HHS secretary new powers to issue grants to fund programs ranging from a “home health training” program —  to “help low-income individuals train for health care jobs, especially in the area of home health” —  to programs studying epidemiology, or how health affects large populations. Other grant programs Obamacare authorizes the HHS secretary to issue funding for include programs dealing with “oral health” and several programs aimed at helping Native Americans.

For example, a new program Obamacare enacted was the “Prevention and Public Health Fund,” a source of millions of dollars in grant money for communities nationwide to “fight obesity, increase HIV testing, promote tobacco quit lines, expand mental health and substance abuse programs and track, monitor and respond to disease outbreaks.” A $9.3 million grant was issued “in support of obesity biometric efforts,” and another $5 million was sent to a Boston facility in an effort to help obese children. In addition to that money, $3.8 million went to “tobacco prevention and control,” and more than $26.2 million went to expanding primary care for people with “behavioral health disorders,” among many other grants and many more millions of dollars spent.

Obamacare’s inaugural year also saw the implementation of the 10 percent excise tax on salon tanning — a violation, according to a study by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), of the president’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year. The tax also drew the consternation of the Jersey Shore star Snooki.