What is ObamaCare? Understanding The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

ObamaCare” is a nickname for the healthcare law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). The law is often called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for short.[1][2][3]

Many people are aware of the basics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

  • They are aware of benefits such as the ACA offering cost assistance on health insurance and protecting against preexisting conditions.
  • Likewise, they are also aware of challenges that some families face like the rising cost of ACA-compliant health insurance and the requirement to get coverage, an exemption, or a pay a fee (that has now been repealed).

Those pros and cons of ObamaCare are important to understand, but they are only a small part of what the Affordable Care Act does and what its effects are.

Below we present some essential ObamaCare Facts to help you better understand what ObamaCare is, what ObamaCare does, and how ObamaCare affects you and your family.

OBAMACARE FACT: President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, and that is essentially why it got the nickname ObamaCare. However, healthcare reform has little to do with Obama beyond that. The reality is, the law is the result of decades of collaboration between all political parties and the healthcare industry.

A Summary of the Affordable Care Act

The ACA was signed into law to reform the healthcare industry by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, the and upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.

The aim of the ACA was to address the “healthcare crisis” the nation was experiencing before the law was enacted.

In other words, the ACA was meant to address the fact that premiums were rising faster than inflation, that healthcare spending was raising as a percentage of GDP, and that the uninsured rate was increasing because of this.[4][5][6][7]

An overview of the Affordable Care Act’s purpose can be stated as:

More specifically, the Affordable Care Act aims to accomplish the above goals by:

Meanwhile, key benefits, rights, and protections under the Affordable Care Act include:

OBAMACARE FACT1 in 2 Americans technically have a “preexisting” condition. That means half of us have a condition that we could have been charged more for or even denied coverage for in some states before the Affordable Care Act. The ACA chipped away at preexisting conditions until 2014 when discrimination against them was banned. Today preexisting conditions are no longer a barrier to insurance coverage for anyone, including high-risk customers. This means you can no longer be denied coverage or treatment or be charged more due to your health status.

We’ve Only Just Scratched the Surface of What the Affordable Care Act Does

With all those ObamaCare Facts covered, we have still only just scratched the surface of what the ACA does!

The reality is, there are over a thousand pages of provisions in the ACA that do everything from requiring calorie counts at restaurants to rewarding hospitals that prioritize Medicare’s quality of care over its quantity of care.

We can’t cover everything on this page, so make sure to check out the links for more information.

Below are some additional ObamaCare Facts to help you better understand what you need to know about the Affordable Care Act ObamaCare here in 2017 – 2018.

Is ObamaCare Working? The uninsured rate fell to the lowest rate in recent history under the Affordable Care Act with over 20 million covered under all the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions (including Medicaid expansion, Marketplace coverage, the expansion of employer coverage, and young adults staying on their parents’ plan until 26). Further, between 2010 and 2016 the Affordable Care Act helped lower personal bankruptcies by nearly 50%! These are just a few example of the ways in which ObamaCare is working… of course, as we noted above, ObamaCare also has its sticking points too.

Essential ObamaCare Facts for 2017 – 2018

For 2017-2018 there are three main things to consider. 1. Getting covered during open enrollment, 2. making sure you are ready to file your taxes as they relate to healthcare at tax time, and 3. keeping an eye on the latest healthcare reform news (such as repeal and replace efforts).

With that in mind, here are some essential facts related to the above points for 2017 – 2018.

TRUMPCARE FACT: You should be aware that there have been a number of new rules passed and a number fixes and ObamaCare replacement plans considered under Trump’s Presidency so far. These proposals and rule changes are collectively known as “TrumpCare.” Learn more about “TrumpCare.”

For more reading, see our pages on ObamaCare Facts and What is ObamaCare?


  1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act“. Wikipedia.Com.
  2. The Official Health Insurance Marketplace Website – HealthCare.Gov“. HealthCare.Gov.
  3. Read the Affordable Care Act“. HealthCare.Gov.
  4. Slower Premium Growth Under Obama“. FactCheck.Org.
  5. The Rising Cost of Health Care by Year and Its Causes“. TheBalance.Com.
  6. The HealthCare Crisis“. PBS.Org.