By Liam Selfors

With seemingly continuous changes to U.S. health-care legislation, it can be confusing to keep track with how new legislation will affect you and your business. Here are some of the highlights of the history of health-care legislation in the United States:

The Flagship Social Security Act & Amendments

  1. The Social Security Act and its amendments were signed into law in 1965 as a comprehensive national health insurance program for the medically needy. Its most notable components are Medicare (Title XVIII), Medicaid (Title XIX), and The Children’s Health Insurance Program (Title XXI).
  2. Medicare guarantees access to health insurance for Americans who are over 65 years old, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease who may require dialysis or a transplant. The program is funded through the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund. Find out more here.
  3. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the Federal Government. Find out more here.
  4. Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. In some states, CHIP covers pregnant women. Each state offers CHIP coverage, and works closely with its state Medicaid program. The program is funded jointly by states and the Federal Government. Find out more here.
  5. Section 1115 of the Social Security Act grants authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive certain Medicaid requirements for expansion of eligibility, benefits, cost sharing, and provider statements. Wisconsin has several waivers to increase coverage to children with physical and developmental disabilities, patients with brain injury, and the elderly and physically disabled (to name a few).

Health-Care Practice and Health Insurance

  1. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs, reduces health-care fraud and abuse, mandates industry-wide standards for health-care information on electronic billing and other processes, and requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information. Find out more here.
  2. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was an economic stimulus package from the Obama Administration aimed to provide temporary programs to relieve those most affected by the “Great Recession” that started around 2007.
  3. The ARRA included the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) which initiated more than $25 billion of spending to promote and expand the adoption of health information technologies. Find out more here.
  4. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) protects individuals from discrimination in health insurance and employment based on genetic information. GINA allows patients to use genetic testing to learn about health risks without fear of genetic discrimination. Find out more here.

Federal Records: Privacy and Right of Access

  1. The Privacy Act of 1974 governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of identifiable information about individuals in federal records. The act safeguards individual privacy from the misuse of federal records, provides that individuals be granted access to their own federal records. Find out more here.
  2. The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) provides authority to the Department of Homeland Security for security protections to information collected or maintained by or for a federal agency. Find out more here.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

  1. Often referred to as “Obamacare,” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March of 2010, offering one of the most significant health-care reforms since the passage of the Social Security act in 1965. The act included a number of reforms such as a requirement that all Americans obtain health insurance, an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, the creation of state-based health insurance exchanges, as well as a push for increased health information exchange to improve the quality of health care. Find out more here.

Get up to date on how recent changes to U.S. health-care legislation by the Trump Administration will impact the Biohealth Industry and Consumers in the future by checking out the recap blog discussing the BioForward Summit Panel, “6 Ways to Stay On Top of Recent Turbulence in U.S. Health-Care Legislation”.