State of Union address: Obama praises healthcare reform progress

January 29, 2014

More than 3 million Americans under aged 26 years have health insurance through their parents’ health plans. More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage. And no American can be dropped or denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, said President Barack Obama about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) during his fifth State of the Union address on January 28th.

More than 3 million Americans under aged 26 years have health insurance through their parents’ health plans. More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage. And no American can be dropped or denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, said President Barack Obama about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) during his fifth State of the Union address on January 28th.

His signature healthcare legislation was developed to improve the quality and efficiency of the healthcare system and improve access for Americans. 

“Many Americans will now have much needed access to the healthcare benefits that they have typically gone without for some time,” said Abimbola Farinde, PharmD, MS, who serves on the faculty at Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Ala. “For formulary managers, this may lead to an increase in the demand of both traditional and/or novel drug products to treat a larger number of individuals with various disease states, which  may have not previously been the observed case.”

However, the rollout of the federal healthcare exchange, healthcare.gov, in October 2013 was problematic because of serious glitches within the system, but the website is working now and millions are expected to benefit.

 “If you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky,” said President Obama. “Kentucky’s not the most liberal part of the country, but he’s like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families. ‘They are our friends and neighbors…they are people who go to work every morning praying they don’t get sick. No one deserves to live that way.’”

President Obama then encouraged every American to help out anyone they knew who didn’t have health insurance to sign up and get coverage by the deadline of March 31st.

He also asked Republicans to stop trying to repeal the law that is helping so many Americans.

“So if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up,” President Obama said.

Three Republican Senators have crafted a new plan called the Patient CARE Act, which they introduced one day ago to replace the PPACA, according to a Forbes report.

Under the plan introduced by Senators Tom Coburn (OK), Richard Burr (NC), and Orrin Hatch (Utah), the PPACA would be repealed and replaced with “sustainable, patient-centered reforms.”

However, Forbes reported that this new plan was a “big tax increase” for Americans, because it would make employer-provided health insurance plans partially taxable as income. So instead of taxing medical device companies, as the PPACA does, the Patient CARE Act would tax Americans premiums by 35% of the average plan to make up for the lost revenues.

“The potential to provide affordable healthcare to millions of Americans is a dream that can be realized, and the steps that are gradually being taken to meet this goal has the potential to make this a reality,” Dr Farinde said.