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Four 2010 Laws that will Impact You in 2011 and Beyond

{ Posted on Dec 29 2010 by Marcus Alston }

It may not always seem like things are getting done by our elected officials but reviewing 2010 shows that a lot was accomplished that will impact consumers’ wallets and futures for years to come.  I have highlighted 4 laws that should have a significant impact on you or someone you know.

1. Health Care Reform.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010 ( later amended by the Health Care Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 30, 2010).  The Act expands coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. The cost of the coverage is estimated at $940 billion over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  The program would cut the deficit by $143 billion over the first 10 years and by $1.2 trillion dollars in the second 10 years.  Highlights include prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage or refusing claims based on pre-existing conditions (applied within 6 months after enactment for children, 2014 for everyone else), allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26, expanding Medicaid eligibility, subsidizing insurance premiums, providing incentives for businesses to provide health care benefits, establishing health insurance exchanges, and support for medical research.  The program will be paid for by a variety of taxes, including a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning.  One of the more controversial parts of the Act is a tax penalty for individuals who do not obtain health insurance (unless they are exempt due to low income or other reasons).  Additionally, illegal immigrants will not be allowed to buy health insurance in the exchanges even if they pay completely with their own money.  For more information on the Act, click here.

2. The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. This Act was included in the Health Care Reconciliation Act of 2010  that was signed into law on March 30, 2010.  It is designed to produce more college graduates by making college more affordable by 2020.  The Act represents the single largest investment in federal student aid ever. The Act invests $36 billion over 10 years to increase the maximum annual Pell Grant scholarship from $5,350 in 2009 to $5,550 in 2010 and to $5,975 by 2017.   Starting in 2013, the scholarship will be linked to match rising costs-of-living by indexing it to the Consumer Price Index.  The Act also provides $750 million to increase college access and completion support for students. It will increase funding for the College Access Challenge Grant program, and will fund innovative programs for states and institutions that focus on increasing financial literacy and helping retain and graduate students.  The Act invests $2.55 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions to provide students with the support they need to stay in school and graduate and invests another $2 billion in a competitive grant program for community colleges to develop and improve educational or career training programs.  According to Wikipedia, the Act would also end the practice of federally subsidized private loans, using all federal student loan funding for direct loans and potentially cutting the federal deficit by an estimated $87 billion over 10 years.  Sourceedlabor.house.gov.  For more information on the Act, click here.

3.  Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (Credit CARD) Act.  On May 22, 2010, the Credit CARD Act of 2009 was signed into law. The legislation is intended to improve disclosures to consumers and end unscrupulous practices in the credit card industry.  It does not cap interest rates and fees. Most of the provisions went into effect Feb. 22, 2010.   Highlights:  Under the Credit CARD Act, a rate increase cannot be applied to existing balances unless a cardholder is delinquent; cardholders must be notified of a rate increase 45 days in advance (there is no cap on the rate increase); consumers under 21 cannot apply for a credit card unless they have co-signer or the ability to pay.

4.  The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Initially proposed on December 2, 2009 by Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd, this Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010.  The law is widely viewed as the most significant change to financial regulation in the United States since the Great Depression over 70 years ago.  The Act will affect all Federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every aspect of the United States’ financial services industry.  Highlights of the law include the creation of a new independent watchdog, housed at the Federal Reserve, with the authority to ensure consumers get the understandable and accurate information they need to make decisions about mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products.  The watchdog is empowered to protect consumers from concealed fees, improper terms, and misleading practices. The law creates, among other things, a safe way to liquidate failed financial companies so that taxpayers will not be asked to write a check to bail them out.

Bonus.  Other noteworthy legislation includes a social security payroll tax cut and the extension of the Bush Tax cuts and unemployment benefits for 2011.

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6 Responses to “Four 2010 Laws that will Impact You in 2011 and Beyond”

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  2. Seattle Locksmith, Thanks for the kind words and feedback.

    – ConsumerMiser

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