President Barack Obama will deliver remarks and sign the landmark health insurance reform legislation today at 11:15 a.m., in the White House East Room. The signing ceremony will be streamed live.
Most of the provisions do not kick in until 2014, but there are some immediate benefits (h/t Black Youth Vote):
90 Days after Enactment (June 2010)
- Access to insurance through a temporary “high-risk pool” for Americans who were denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. This will benefit the 15 percent of young Americans who suffer from chronic conditions.
6 Months after Date of Enactment (September 2010)
- Allow young Americans to remain on their parents’ health insurance until their 26th birthday. Over 2 million previously uninsured young adults will benefit from this provision.
- Prohibit health plans from dropping individuals’ coverage when they get sick.
- Ban lifetime limits on covered benefits.
- Prohibit restrictive annual limits on benefits (all annual limits banned by 2014).
- Require pre-deductible preventive care services with no cost-sharing under all new plans (applies to all existing plans by 2018).
January 1, 2011
- Require all plans to spend 80 percent (for small/individual plans) or 85 percent (for large group plans) of premiums on medical services. Those who fail to do so must submit rebates to consumers.
Benefits after Full Implementation (January 1, 2014)
- Expand Medicaid to cover every American earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, providing coverage to 9 million currently uninsured young adults.
- Provide tax credits for purchasing health insurance to individuals who lack employer-provided insurance and earn less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Ban denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
- Limit insurance companies to charging older adults no more than three times the insurance premiums of younger adults.
- Establish state insurance exchanges to facilitate market competition and enforce minimum benefit standards.
- Offer young adults under age 30 the option of purchasing a low-cost catastrophic plan.
Already, Republicans are drafting bills to repeal health reform. Republican attorneys general in at least 12 states are gearing up to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation “the moment Obama signs the bill.”
For his part, Obama will hit the road on Thursday to sell Obamacare to the 56 percent of Americans who still oppose the healthcare overhaul.
And it will be a hard sell. A CBS News poll found that only 20 percent of Americans think the bill will help them personally.