The Affordable Care Act
Health care is the world’s most expensive system and is believed to be the world’s biggest problem. The United States rates 37th in the world in health care while other industrialized countries spend much less money on health care and have better ratings. (Frontline, Sick Around American) For many years US presidents have failed in passing national health insurance but on March 23, 2010, “President Obama signed into law the first US comprehensive health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). (Connors 2010, p. 2521) Currently there are 46 million people uninsured which is 16 percent of Americans. This is due to lack of coverage, limits on catastrophic expenses, and exclusions for pre-existing conditions, gaps in Medicare and insurance deductibles and co-payments. (Halfmann, Lecture Notes, 4/9/13) To help improve conditions, “The PPACA is expected to expand health insurance coverage to 32 million individuals by 2019 through a variety of measures.” These measures will consist of: individual purchase mandate, Medicaid, health insurance exchanges and eliminating coverage barriers. (Connor 2010, p. 2521) By 2014, most individuals will be required to have health insurance. Medicaid will be expanded to individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level. States will be required to launch Health Benefit Exchanges and Small Business Health Operations Program Exchanges. Finally, the PPACA allows for people with preexisting medical conditions to no longer be denied coverage and young adults will be able to stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26. (Connor 2010, p. 2521) There is much debate on whether Obama’s healthcare reform will actually make a difference or simply make matters worse in the long run. The main focus is reforming insurance and expanding coverage but although, Obama’s healthcare reform sounds great that nearly everyone will be insured it does not take into consideration the long term flaws. Not only will 5 to 6 percent of the population will remain uncovered but most importantly cost will eventually rise for healthcare. Overall, Obama’s health care reform will financially sink our nation into a deeper hole because the prices of insurance are in the hands of insurance companies and citizens are forced into purchasing health insurance or otherwise be penalized therefore in the following paper I propose potential amendments to help improve the ACA. From a left side standpoint we believe that there should be social equality and we must be the ones to help our nation as a whole. Shortcomings of the ACA (A-D)
In a democratic society, elected representatives can enact laws limiting the freedom of their constituents. The lack of healthcare coverage is addressed in the ACA by forcing people to make choices that will allow more people to afford healthcare. An individual mandate is being enforced. (Halfmann, Lecture Notes, 4/23/13)
Health insurance coverage works by having your bills paid for by other people who do not have as many bills but pay insurance for when they will need it. Young healthy people mostly do not need healthcare and do not contribute to everyone’s bills by buying insurance. The ACA penalizes these individuals by charging them if they do not have insurance. Young healthy people are to be charged for the healthcare bills of others. Shortcoming B
Medicaid is an existing program that pays hospitals and physicians far less for their work and supplies than other programs and services, averaging only 72% of what Medicare pays for the same services. The ACA expands available healthcare services by expanding the Medicaid program. Shortcoming C
In our economy, businesses pass on any increase in their expenses by charging their customers more for the same services. The ACA seeks to pay for increased healthcare coverage by charging businesses with more than 50 employees if they do not provide insurance for...
Cited: Connors, E.E. and Gostin, L.O., “Health Care Reform- “A Historical Moment in US Social Policy.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 303,2521-2522.
Frontline: Sick Around America
Hacker, Jacob. 2010. Health Reform 2.0. The American Prospect, August 17.
Halfmann, Drew . Lecture. Spring 2013.
Himmelstein, David U. and Steffie Woolhandler. “Obama’s Reform: No Cure for What Ails Us.” British Medical Journal 340.
Kaiser Family Foundation. 2013. The Affordable Care Act Three Years Post-Enactment.
Starr, Paul. 2010. “Breaking Though”. Chapter 7 in Remedy and Reaction. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Weissert, William G. and Carole S. Weissert. 2010. “Why Major Health Reform in 2009-10 Won’t Solve Our Problems.” The Forum 8:9.
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