The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a step in the right direction by providing healthcare for the poor, but it is a far cry from the Universal Healthcare that was supposed to be part of The Change We Need. It will benefit the very poor by making it easier to qualify for Medicaid (MediCal in California) because it is now possible to qualify for the program if you earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) rather than the previous requirement of 100% or less.
The ACA also mandates that everybody obtain medical insurance by March of 2014 or pay a penalty. People getting Medicaid are required to continue this insurance. Those who cannot qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to purchase health insurance basesd on their income will be offered federal subsidies to cover the cost of part of insurance offered by state organized insurance exchanges; this will be done on a sliding scale basis that ranges from 2% to 9.5% of the modified adjusted gross income (pretax dollars). Poorer people will struggle to pay for even subsidized health care and will not be able to afford to use their health insurance because they cannot afford the large deductibles and co-pays that are required to obtain service.
While this sounds good on the surface, chances are you'll need to find a new physician, not every hospital will accept you as a patient and you may have to wait before seeing your physician or obtaining certain lab tests.
This law benefits insurance companies, offers very little health care reform, is not affordable for the poor, and even compromises personal security by requiring electronic medical records. Maybe additional legislation will find its way to Congress to make the ACA both affordable and available.