Q:

What is ObamaCare?

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Quick Answer

"Obamacare," formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a national law that seeks to improve the quality of health insurance for people who already have it, and to enable millions of uninsured Americans access to public and private health insurance coverage. Under Obamacare, health-insurance companies are required to cover all applicants, regardless of gender or pre-existing conditions.

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Full Answer

People who already have private health insurance through their employers still benefit from Obamacare because the law mandates that health insurance companies pay for things that were considered optional before the law, such as prescription drugs or access to mental health care. Additionally, the law also prevents those companies from charging extra for services such as routine checkups or cancer screenings.

Under Obamacare, senior and disabled U.S. citizens who are on Medicare and Medicaid, respectively, have easier access to prescription drugs. Furthermore, the law ensures that families earning less than $31,000 a year have access to free health care, meaning that nearly 17 million families can be covered under that provision.

People who don’t have private health insurance, alongside those who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, are required to buy insurance from state-based health insurance exchanges. As of 2014, nearly 20 million Americans have gained coverage under Obamacare, while the percentage of those who are uninsured has dropped to 13.4 percent.

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