3 Parts of Obamacare Everyone Should Love (Even If You Hate the Rest)

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In case you didn't know, there's a little thing known as Obamacare that's causing big changes in health care. I mention this because a recent survey found that 42% of Americans didn't realize that Obamacare is currently in effect. That same survey found that only 35% of Americans view the law favorably.

I have written articles in the past that pointed out absurdities in Obamacare, noted potential job losses resulting from it, and looked at stocks that should benefit from the legislation. However, I haven't highlighted positive aspects of the law itself -- until now. Here are three of parts of Obamacare that (nearly) everyone should love, even if you still hate the rest of it.

1. Rescinding rescission
In the past, insurance companies could cancel insurance retroactively when they found out that an individual developed a serious illness. This process, called rescission, was reprehensible to many. Obamacare stopped it from happening.

Granted, public pressure probably would have ended rescission even without the legislation. Actually, WellPoint (NYSE: ANTM  ) and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) yielded to heavy criticism and changed policies to do away with the practice even before Obamacare was implemented.

It should also be noted that rescission wasn't overly common in recent years. In 2009, WellPoint retroactively canceled less than one-tenth of 1% of policies -- and these cancellations were because of fraud. Obamacare, by the way, doesn't prevent insurers from retroactively denying coverage where fraud was involved.

However, we should give credit where it's due. Ending arbitrary rescission was and is a good thing.

2. Biosimilar availability
Millions of Americans benefit from the wide availability of generic alternatives to brand-name drugs. However, that option hasn't existed for biologic drugs, which are made from living organisms. Obamacare set in motion events that will change this situation. The legislation authorized the Food and Drug Administration to establish an approval process for biosimilar drugs.

Granted, not everyone loves this part of Obamacare. AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV  ) , for example, depends on biologic drug Humira for more than half of its revenue. However, Humira loses U.S. patent protection in 2016. AbbVie even petitioned the FDA to not approve biosimilars for its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug.

Bad news for companies like AbbVie, though, means good news for ordinary Americans. Some experts predict that availability of biosimilar drugs could save as much as $378 billion over two decades.

3. Bundled payments
It's no secret that Medicare is in trouble. Medicare's trustees say that the hospital program will become insolvent by 2024. Something has to be done. While there's no silver bullet, at least one part of Obamacare should help Medicare save money: bundled payments.

Bundled payments involve reimbursing health-care providers for an entire episode of care. This method provides disincentives for providers to give unnecessary care and promotes coordination between different health-care providers.

Last year, the Congressional Budget Office evaluated 10 different projects that all were attempting to control Medicare costs. Only one project was successful -- the one that used bundled payments. This project cut costs by 10%. Now more efforts are under way to further test the bundled payment concept.

Many hospitals are embracing the idea. Health Management Associates (UNKNOWN: HMA.DL  ) counts six of its hospitals included in a national bundled-payment initiative that involves hundreds of providers. The large hospital chain touts this participation, with a representative stating, "We're proud to take part in this important initiative and potentially help improve care for Medicare patients."

Lost that loving feeling?
Not everyone will love these three components of Obamacare, of course. However, I think many of us have reason to do so. Protecting people from unfair insurance-company practices, promoting lower prescription drug costs, and holding down Medicare costs sound like good ideas, don't they?

Even if you're among the plurality of Americans who dislike Obamacare, these are a few things you probably can like and maybe love about it. Investors can potentially even profit from it. Enjoy the glow for a minute. It probably won't take long before that loving feeling is gone, gone, gone. 

The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hasn't lost his loving feeling about the one stock that he made his no. 1 pick for 2013. Find out which stock it is in the free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 11:39 AM, Michaellaborde wrote:

    Obamacare will bankrupt the U.S.

    Obamacare stole $750,000,000,000 from Medicare.

    Obamacare will not let you keep your own insurance.

    Obamacare will not let you keep your own doctor.

    Obama promised that it would lower the cost of healthcare, actually it is rising by 150%.

    Obamacare will have a burocracy board that will tell you if you can have certain procedures if you have spent too much money on other procedures.

    Obamacare is a train wreck that already needs more money.

    Obamacare calls 26 year olds children and 15 year olds adults when it comes to contraceptives.

    Obamacare is alredy running doctors out of the field of medicine and is causing less people to go into medicine.

    Congress, government officials, President / VP are trying to exhempt themselves from Obamacare.

    Now this is just a few effects of Obamacare. Pelosie said that it had to be passed so they and we could find out what was in it. It is only 2500 pages of unintelligent rules.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 12:16 PM, seattle1115 wrote:

    I'm not fond of the PPACA, but there are two positive elements of the law which must be acknowledged. First, as bad as it is, it's a damn sight better than the godawful mess it replaces. Second, it's an important step toward the inevitable introduction of single-payer health care in this country, the adoption of which will improve the lives of every American.

    @Michaellaborde: I'm curious; did you think that what we've now come to call "Obamacare" was so awful back when the Heritage Foundation formulated it, Newt Gingrich embraced it, and Mitt Romney implemented it? Perhaps you did, in which case I applaud your consistency (although I still think you're completely wrong in every particular), but it's amazing how many people thought the individual mandate was a brilliant, market-oriented solution in 1993 but now claim it will be a disaster.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 3:50 PM, consAREidiots wrote:

    The primary reason for people disliking Obamacare is the MASSIVE AMOUNT OF LIES AND PROPAGANDA the right wing (fox fake news) has spread.

    The most hated part of it?

    The conservative mandate.

    It LOWERS the deficit cons made their number one priority.

    Its got cost controls (though not enough).

    You ask the most ardent anti-obama people, and they like the individual policies - they just don't like that its attached to the president they've been programmed to hate.

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2013, at 4:33 PM, 1caflash wrote:

    Many folks who have contributed to Social Security and Medicare for a long time have seen how our politicians mismanage funds; then, they have to go on Medicare because when you hit that magic? age, practically every insurance plan is tied to it. There is so much fraud in the system, so who is to say that there will not continue to be fraud with Obamacare? My comments certainly have very little to do with what T.V. channels I watch. I believe that such a complicated plan will lead to more complications, and that our freedom of choice is being eroded by those who want to force a so-called "cure-all" pill down our throats. It is also an extension of what old-school politicians have wanted, even before Bill Clinton became our President. His supporters finally found and programmed our social-worker Chief Executive to accomplish their goals. Levy fines on the firms that do not comply with the new regulations. If the plan is so great, then that threat would have never been included in its implementation.

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