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Monday, September 30, 2013

Current Events Lesson - Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act)

This week's free downloadable lesson discusses the debate over Obamacare.

Seeing as how the new health care exchanges open tomorrow, discussing Obamacare today seemed like a good idea.  People can begin signing up for the exchanges on October 1, but coverage does not actually begin until January 1, 2014.  Several aspects of the bill have already taken effect.  Some of the most important include
  • Health insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions
  • There are no more caps on lifetime health insurance payouts
  • Children can stay on their parent's health insurance until age 26

Because the health exchanges are the main emphasis of the law--and the part of it that Republicans hate the most--there is a heated debate going on in the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Complicating the issue is the insistence by House Republicans to tie the bill to repeal Obamacare onto the bill to continue funding the U.S. government.  If no bill gets passed by tomorrow to fund the government, several services will shut down, and government employees who do work will not get paid until a deal is reached.

Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have agreed that the bill to fund the government should not be tied to Obamacare.  Even though Senate Republicans dislike Obamacare, they want to ensure that the government does not shut down.  Then, they can focus their attention on Obamacare.  Democrats have asserted that Obamacare is already the law of the land, so it is non-negotiable.  It will certainly need to be tweaked once the exchanges open, but there is no knowing what is needed until the bill is given a try.

Because Obamacare will likely have a direct impact on many of your students, introducing students to the topic in an objective manner will provide them with the necessary information to decide how they feel about it.  Perhaps, if Obamacare stays intact, many of your students could benefit from its health care coverage.

There are two videos for this lesson.  Links to both videos are included on the slideshow in the download.  The first video introduces students to some details about Obamacare.

The second one illustrates the current debate being waged in Congress.

  • How a bill becomes a law (the legislative process)
  • The composition of Congress (i.e. there are 100 Senators, 435 Representatives, etc.)
  • The different Congressional committees (standing, special, and joint)
  • Supreme Court cases that have upheld Obamacare so far ( U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Florida)

I hope you and your class find this lesson engaging and invigorating.  Please leave me any questions or comments.  Enjoy!