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November 15, 2013

Obama Says Cancelled Health Plans Can Now Be Extended One Year

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Background

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires everyone to have health insurance, either through a private insurance company or through a government plan like Medicare or Medicaid, and prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people because of preexisting conditions. Passing the ACA proved challenging for President Obama who made health care reform a priority in his first term, but in the end it was passed by Congress and became a law.

In October, glitches plagued the internet roll-out of the ACA website frustrating thousands of Americans attempting to use the site to browse health care options. This week another ACA complication rocked the White House as thousands of American’s health insurance  plans were cancelled by their providers.  The reason- their current health care plans did not meet the requirements of the new national law.  Regardless, people were outraged as President Obama had promised that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. In today’s video watch President Obama address the nation and take responsibility for the latest ACA blunder.

Warm up questions
  1. What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what is it supposed to do?
  2. Who does it affect?
  3. Is it called the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care? What’s the difference?
Discussion questions
  1. Do you think President Obama’s apology was sincere? Do you think that it made people who had their health care plans cancelled feel better? Will it solve the problem?
  2. Why do you think there are such large differences (by state) in who has signed up for the ACA
  3. How does group health care work? What are the risks and benefits of having everyone in the United States covered by quality health insurance?
  4. If you were in charge of the ACA Web site what would you do first to help people navigate the site with less problems? Look at the website as a class https://www.healthcare.gov/ and evaluate it pointing out its strengths and weaknesses.

Basics and Online Resources for Teachers

Who:  Americans who had health care plans that do not meet the national standards had their health care cancelled by their insurance companies which caused anger and panic.

What: See page one background

Where: The Affordable Care Act affects people in the United States by requiring everyone to have health insurance, either through a private insurance company or through a government plan like Medicare or Medicaid, and prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people because of preexisting conditions. For an infographic showing who is signed up by state click here.

When: The Web site went up on October 1, 2013 and consumers were encouraged to go on and choose a health care plan that was right for them. For more details about the ACA, check out this timeline from the government.

Why: The ACA’s latest problem – insurance companies cancelling thousands of insurance policies – blindsided President Obama, who previously promised that Americans who liked their policies could keep them. He recently tried to reassure Americans that his administration is working on a way to allow people to keep their plans.

Writing Prompts
  1. Is the ACA good for the United States long term? What about its affect in the short term? What are the risks and benefits of having a national health care initiative that makes sure that everyone has decent insurance? Make sure to explain the basics of the plan and put it into context of the current state of the health care in the U.S. Then choose either side:
    • Make an argument to try to persuade people that the Affordable Care Act- despite the recent hiccups- is good for the country.
    • Present an argument why the ACA is not good for the country.
  2. Imagine that you are someone who had their insurance cancelled.  Write a brief narrative about the recent events and how you feel about what has happened. Make sure to include important new events including receiving the cancellation notice and the President’s mea culpa (it’s my fault/I am taking responsibility for this) speech.
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