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President Barack Obama, accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and people who support the Affordable Care Act, his signature health care law, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law forced about 800,000 federal workers off the job, suspending all but essential services. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
The Affordable Care Act, which was passed by Congress in March of 2010, has made it mandatory for everyone (yes everyone) to have health insurance. The ACT, therefore, is designed to make health care more affordable and easier to get for the uninsured and the underinsured - approximately 30 million people in the U.S. Individuals who do not have health care benefits because they work part-time or are unemployed, as well as small businesses owners who are unable to provide their employees with health benefits, will now be able to choose from a variety of different insurance plans that are affordable and tailored to meet individual/business needs. Individuals and families who are already insured but unhappy with their current plans will be able to exchange them for different ones. In some instances, individuals and families will receive a subsidy to pay for their insurance premiums.
Under the ACA, approximately 7 million African Americans who have been uninsured will now be covered. The 7.3 million African American individuals and families that already have private insurance, as well as the 4.5 million elderly/disabled African Americans on Medicare, will now also be able to receive more preventive services without paying extra. Approximately 62 preventive health services (screenings, immunizations and vaccines, counselings, contraceptions and some supplements) for men, women and children are now provided without a copayment or coinsurance, whether a person has met their yearly deductible or not, as long as the services are delivered by a network provider.
"When I was a Physician Assistant, I saw firsthand how people in our community struggled to secure basic health care," stated Cong. Karen Bass (D-37). "High costs kept them from pursuing the care they needed and treatable conditions like hypertension and diabetes became much worse before they were detected. Because of the Affordable Care Act, all of South LA has a chance to have quality care.