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Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act: So what’s in it?

Not everyone realizes that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing. The 2010 law created insurance exchanges — that is, marketplaces — for people to buy private health insurance if they couldn’t get affordable coverage through work. Critics initially used the term “Obamacare” in a disparaging way. But in 2011, President Barack Obama embraced the nickname, saying “I have no problem with people saying Obama cares. I do care.”

For the health plans sold through these marketplaces, the law provides people the first subsidies the government has ever given to help them pay for private insurance. Presumably, both the marketplaces and the subsidies would be dismantled under any legislation to repeal the ACA.

Besides setting up the exchanges, the law has other parts that affect insurance requirements and try to foster innovation in the way health care is delivered. It requires health plans sold to individuals and small businesses to include a set of “essential health benefits.” One popular provision allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. Trump has said he likes that idea, but it isn’t clear how he would implement it because neither his administration nor Congress’s Republican majority has produced its own health-care plan.

The Obamacare debate: Defining key terms

Understanding health-care lingo can be challenging enough. But when you add political spin, you have a recipe for mass confusion, if not migraines. Here is a glossary of basic terms to help decode the debate.

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