Hipaa, Arra And Obamacare

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HIPAA, ARRA and Obamacare


On August 21, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a bipartisan overhaul of health insurance into law. But the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), also known as Kassebaum-Kennedy, for its two principal Senate sponsors, Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was hardly the sweeping overhaul Clinton had in mind when he took office. Although HIPAA (PL 104-191) did represent the most comprehensive federal regulation of private health insurance ever enacted, it addressed only a small portion of the population: those already insured who wished to move from one group plan to another or who wanted to move from a group to an individual plan. And although the measure sought to improve the availability of insurance, it did nothing to make it more affordable—an omission that would come back to haunt the measure only two years later, when analysts reported that insurers were avoiding some of the law's requirements by charging premiums up to six times higher for persons eligible because of HIPAA than they charged other customers. This paper discusses the issue of “Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)” concerning the US government. The implementation of HIPAA's requirements did not go as smoothly as lawmakers had hoped, therefore president Obama had to make major changes to the HIPAA and implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).


Still the US citizens are facing issues concerning HIPAA and ARRA. Although, the implementation of the most significant accomplishment of Obama's presidency, his health-care bill, will lie ahead, after the 2012 election. The latest Stimulus Bill modified the HIPAA rules significantly.

At the insistence of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, who wanted to put their own stamp on the health issue, the measure also went well beyond its original modest intentions. In addition to provisions seeking to reduce the ability of insurers to exclude individuals from coverage because of preexisting condition, the final measure included a major antifraud effort and a four-year experiment with the medical savings account (MSA), a tax-preferred account combined with a high-deductible catastrophic illness insurance policy that gave individuals much more responsibility for their personal health care spending. It also included several other health-related tax provisions, such as an increase in the percentage of premiums that the self-employed could deduct from their income taxes and new tax deductions for long-term care services and long-term care insurance premiums. The law has probably become best known for its requirement for rules to protect the confidentiality of medical information. (Boyle, 12-15)

Specifically, the HIPAA bill did not permit workers to take their specific health plans with them when they changed jobs (what many people mistakenly thought portability meant), and it did not require employers to offer insurance or to offer any specific benefits if they did provide coverage. But the new law did address the problem of job-lock, the fear many workers had of not being able to reacquire insurance if they gave up their current job—and ...