Healthcare reform bill hits one year mark

By Melanie Ruberti - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - One year into the gradual implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, and reviews remain mixed. The bill was signed into effect one year ago by President Barack Obama, but some are wondering where are the changes?

The Affordable Healthcare Act is in effect, but Robert Bush, an attorney with the Georgia Legal Services, said only certain groups in our population are seeing the changes now.

Senior Citizens who are on Medicare Part D are one of those groups. Most of them have complained of reaching a spending limit on their medications, also known as the "doughnut hole", where they then have to pay premium price for life saving drugs. The reform bill is working to close that gap, and also give more discounts on different medications. But, Bush says, the implementation to change Medicare Part D won't be finished until 2020.

Another group seeing change are teens and adults between the ages of 19 and 26. They are now assured of getting health insurance on their parent's policies, despite having pre-existing conditions.

Also, children 19 and under, can't be denied coverage by an insurance group for a pre-existing condition either.

But Bush also says, most people wont see any big changes until the bill takes full effect in 2014. "Later, there will be exchanges that guarantee insurance to virtually anyone, regardless of their health status," he explained. "And there will be limits put upon how much health care can cost an individual or a family. "

But there are many people still opposed to the Reform bill. South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson says the anniversary of health care reform is no cause for celebration. In a statement released to WTOC, Wilson said:

Under the guise of making health care more affordable and accessible, liberals in Washington have caused many Americans to see their insurance premiums increase, while putting seniors at risk due to doctors opting out of Medicare. The government takeover of health care would cost an additional $2.6 trillion to implement while adding $701 billion to the deficit.

However, a Consumer Reports analysis does not support Congressman Wilson's claims.

The health care reform bill won't fully take effect until 2014, and that's if it's not repealed by Congress before then.

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