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COLUMN: Affordable Care Act on the horizon - what to expect

— To help pay for those additional costs, Obamacare will assess a new tax on health insurers based on the total amount of premium dollars that they collect. This cost will have to come from somewhere and presumably it will be passed onto the consumer. Some estimate that this will add $400 to a family plan by the year 2016.

Since 2010, New York has received nearly $370 million in federal funds to establish the health exchange. Though people have little to say about the parameters of this program, the insurance industry is advocating “Core Principles” be included as the exchange moves forward. Core Principles put forth that: health plans offered be self-sufficient and that no state or federal subsidies or tax advantages be used to keep a plan viable. They also urge the health exchange not to become a future revenue source for the state, through taxes, assessments or surcharges. I agree with these principles.

We have yet to see how it will be fully instituted. There are a lot of questions, as regulations have not been fully devised, nor have the costs been fully realized. It is not known how much the health plans will cost within the exchange either. However, because Obamacare is now starting to take effect, it is important that everyone understand what it entails and that policymakers do not exacerbate what is surely going to be an onerous program.

Assemblyman Will Barclay represents residents of Assembly District 120, which includes Lysander. He can be reached by mail at 200 North Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by phone (598-5185).

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