The health reform law - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - was signed into law in 2010. More commonly referred to as the “Affordable Care Act” (or “ACA”), the law represents the broadest reform to the United States’ health care system since the 1960s.
In 2008, Congressional leaders, and President Obama began a roughly two year process of developing legislation to fundamentally reform health care systems in the United States.
Many legislative proposals were considered by the relevant committees in Congress, including a plan submitted by President Obama that became the final piece of legislation.
The final health reform bill – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010– was signed into law on March 23, 2010.
Learn more about AAHIVM's Advocacy Efforts during that process: Our Advocacy Efforts
The ACA included many provisions that went into effect at the time of the law’s passage, and others that were scheduled to be implemented in various stages over the following decade.
Several of the most significant changes to the health care systems in the US were scheduled to take place in 2014, including the establishment of the new individual and small group state insurance exchanges, and the expansion of state Medicaid programs.
Following the law's passage, the federal government agencies issued a multitude of rules and regulations pertaining to various provisions of the law, and how they were to be carried out.
Learn more about AAHIVM's comments on some of those regulations: Our Advocacy Efforts
The law was challenged in two separate court cases in 2012 that were ruled on by the Supreme Court in June of that year. The two cases addressed the provisions of the law requiring individuals to purchase insurance (the “individual mandate”) and the expansion of the Medicaid program in the states. The Court’s decision in these two cases had broad ramifications for certain aspects of the law going forward.
Learn more: Supreme Court Decision
The federal government regulatory determinations placed many of the law’s aspects in the hands of the states to determine and implement.
The provisions of the law that are being implemented at the state level, give the state lawmakers broad power to determine how the requirements and provisions of the ACA will be fulfilled and organized in each state.
Learn more: State Implementation
Learn more about the background of the health insurance law through the resources below.
Health Reform Implementation Timeline - Kaiser Family Foundation