A lot of people find the prospect of getting affordable healthcare somewhat controversial. Although such a prospect shouldn’t be contentious in nature, the condition of the United States healthcare system makes it so.
One of the most contentious healthcare topics is the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act, affectionately known as Obamacare.
The relative complexity of the fairly new act has allowed it to do ‘as intended,’ but with some downsides regarding healthcare costs and the like. But, even the implementation of such a fact hasn’t yet relieve the problem with getting affordable healthcare in the country.
The Basics of Affordable Healthcare
In order to understand the climate of affordable healthcare in the United States, it’s best to approach it under the pretense of the Affordable Care Act.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law back in March 2010, representing the largest regulatory overhaul of the United States healthcare system since 1965.
The Act was mainly implemented to help boost the quality and affordability of healthcare throughout the country, with the effect of lowering the rate of uninsured people in the United States. As of this year, nearly 20 million people in the country gained some form of health insurance under the Act. Not only that, the number of uninsured citizens dropped to 13.4 percent.
The healthcare reform, so far, has helped people get healthcare by expanding private and public health insurance coverage and reducing healthcare costs for citizens and governments.
The Act itself consists of several sections, Titles I-X. The first three titles are the most widely debated, with Title I being the most commonly discussed in the media. Here are some details about the first three:
Title I – Quality Affordable Healthcare for All Americans: A 374 page section of the 2,000-plus page law. It covers health insurance—and all of its nuances. Given its complex content, it’s the most widely discussed and cited part of Obamacare.
Title II – Role of Public Programs: This sections covers provisions involved with public healthcare programs, including the Indian Health Services and Medicaid. This title has notably drawn some contention among states who haven’t yet expanded their Medicaid programs, as some provisions under this title calls to withhold funding from those who choose not to do so.
Title III – Improving Quality and Efficiency of Health Care: A section dedicated to changing how health care is delivered throughout the United States. Much of this section applies to essentially reforming how Medicare-based and other private healthcare services work in the country, moving from a fee-based service system to one that requires payment based on healthcare quality.
The Affordable Care Act, and affordable healthcare in general, is a topic of contentious debate among many. And, given the complex nature of such an Act, it’s unlikely that the debates will end anytime soon. Let’s look at both sides.
Much of the positives of the Affordable Care Act involves extensive reforms for several healthcare systems throughout the United States. Many are considered ‘long overdue’ for supporters of the provisions.
1. New healthcare benefits. The ACA has given many Americans access to new healthcare benefits. Some of those benefits include decreased prescription drug costs, no annual/lifetime healthcare limits, discrimination protections and the allowance of children to stay on parent healthcare plans until age 26.
2. Better access to preventative and wellness services. Plenty of Americans now have access to various healthcare services without having to pay for costs out of their pocket.
3. More consumer protections. The Act is expected to remove existing provisions that didn’t benefit people under health insurance plans. Many of those provisions, such as being denied of coverage for certain reasons, are expected to become obsolete in the next few years.
4. Medicaid expansion. Medicaid will now expand to Americans who made too little or too much to qualify for the program, provided that their state didn’t opt out of Medicaid expansion.
For all the good that the new reform does for the healthcare system, there are some issues regarding its implementation across the country….
1. Rising insurance premiums. Although the Act reforms the health insurance industry, it hasn’t stopped insurance premiums from significantly rising. Much of the consumer protections laws aren’t set until 2014 and 2015, causing many insurance providers to ‘gouge’ premiums until provisions are implemented against such actions.
2. Medicare cuts. One of the biggest costs of ACA affected Medicare, since over $700 billion will be cut from the program over time. Although much of those funds will be reinvested back into the reformed Medicare program, many aspects of Medicare have suffered some setbacks as the Medicare committee works to implement the reform.
3. The ‘no insurance’ tax. By 2014, people are required to purchase health insurance or they’ll have to pay a fee. The first year will require people to pay $15 or 1 percent of their total income.
The Affordable Care Act is a tome that contains the Obama administration’s plan to improve the quality of healthcare in the country. While not all provisions have been implemented yet, much of the major provisions have been implemented and continue to be ‘fine-tuned’ to this day.