Obama’s Health Care Plan: What Does It Mean?

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This Sunday marked a turn in history far more epic then my Sunday’s fate (which was spent spiraling out of love with Midterms).  Yes, far away in Washington, the House finally voted to provide medical coverage to millions of uninsured Americans! And much like any decision out of D.C., this one has some major dispute. Democrats see health care and insurance as a “right, not a privilege” that will improve the quality of American life, whereas many Republicans believe the health care reform will “increase the costs of doing business, and coverage to a million Americans will not curb costs.”

But regardless of the clashing viewpoints of each party, the biggest question on everyone’s minds is: what does all this mean for us? The line often gets hazy in the midst of a constant political party clash and it’s hard to really understand what’s going on, so I’ve decided to break it down for you busy (and/or lazy) college students. Consider this your Cliff’s Notes version of Obama’s health care plan:

People who are sick are no longer denied health coverage
Before, health insurers could drop coverage for people who become ill, or children with medical problems. Now, regardless of medical history, anyone and everyone can get access to health insurance.

You can stay on your parents’ health insurance until age 26
To all you college students out there, yes this means what it says. No longer will you be booted off of  your parents’ insurance fresh out of college.  You have a few years of breathing/going-to-every-single-doctor-you-can-think-of-before-you-gotta-start-paying-for-this-stuff-yourself room. And this is especially helpful to all of us who may end up jobless post graduation in this declining economy.

Private coverage for low- and middle-income people
The government would assist and subsidize the cost of health insurance for those who cannot afford it.

Requires employers to offer coverage for employees
No matter where you work, the government will make it mandatory for you to receive health insurance. Small companies will get a tax break if they offer it and big companies will have to pay a penalty if they don’t.

Student loans overhauled
While this was not technically part of the health care reform (because it has nothing to do with it!), the student loan overhaul was lumped together in Sunday’s vote. Student loans will now come directly from the government, freeing up money that used to be subsidized to banks to allow even more low-income students the opportunity to go to college. It is also going to cap a borrower’s monthly loan payments at 10%, down from 15% of their monthly income. That’s huge!

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