Even though the law passed three years ago, there’s still a lot of confusion out there about the basics of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. So hopefully some people will find this useful.

Obamacare … okay to call it that?

Yes. The name used to have a negative vibe, but the President has since owned it.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act = PPACA = ACA = Obamacare = “the health-care law”

None of these in particular imply that you love or hate President Barack Obama or intend to support or reject the law.

What does it do for people?

Obamacare does not mandate that anyone bend over. Its purpose is to “increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health care.” The most widely relevant and talked-about parts are that no one will be excluded from getting insurance, and everyone will have to get insurance.

Insurance companies can’t refuse to cover people like they used to, and they can’t revoke coverage when people get sick. People won’t be forced to pay extra for insurance because of pre-existing conditions. There will be a limit on how much insurance companies can legally profit, and they will eventually have to cover all kinds of preventive care.

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