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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),[1] commonly called Obamacare[2][3] or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, it represents the most significant government expansion and regulatory overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[4]

The ACA is aimed at increasing the affordability and rate of health insurance coverage for Americans, and reducing the overall costs of health care (for individuals and the government). It provides a number of mechanisms — including mandates, subsidies, and tax credits — to employers and individuals to increase the coverage rate and health insurance affordability.[5][6] The ACA requires insurance companies to cover all applicants within new minimum standards, and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.[7][8] Additional reforms aim to improve healthcare outcomes and streamline the delivery of health care. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the ACA will lower both future deficits[9] and Medicare spending.[10]

On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the ACA in the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.