Public opinion on Obamacare is clearly divided. Experts too have contrarian viewpoints. There are many advantages or benefits of Obamacare and those cannot be disputed or even debated. But there are some disadvantages as well. Whether or not you would be an advocate of the policy or Act depends on the perspective that you have and how you choose to weigh the Obamacare pros and cons.
Formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Obamacare has generated a lot of hope among citizens who are uninsured or have limited coverage in their existing insurance policies. At the same time, there are critics who don’t vote in favor of Obamacare. A staggering 54% of people surveyed recently gave a thumbs-down to Obamacare. But can the Act be looked at for its negative attributes or should the cons be considered as necessary evil for some good in the end?
1. 32 million people in the United States did not have insurance at the time when Obamacare was being planned and legislated. Those without insurance use emergency rooms in hospitals for their primary medical needs and that is never economic for anyone. With the uninsured being protected and provided with affordable healthcare, the reality would change.
2. With Obamacare, several diseases can be prevented through the preventive services which are to be provided free of cost. Since all insurance policies need to include the ten essential health benefits and people are going to be preemptively tested for possible ailments, the likelihood of an expensive treatment can be reduced.
3. Obamacare increases the income requirement for Medicaid by 133% which allows many more families to qualify than what was possible earlier.
4. There are many who will not qualify for Medicaid and they can get tax credits instead. However, the income of those individuals or families would have to be less than 400% of the federal poverty level. The credits can be further facilitated by the insurance exchanges that the states have to set up or insurance shoppers can use the federal exchange.
5. Under Obamacare, children cannot be denied coverage by insurance companies owing to any preexisting health conditions. This is applicable to all and sundry, with or without traditional health insurance. Also, insurance providers would have to continue providing coverage to those who get sick after having had the insurance coverage when they were healthy.
6. Children below the age of twenty six can be added to the health insurance plans of their parents. This is one of the fewer advantages for the insurance companies. This clause of Obamacare has already made an impact as several million young people who were uninsured have got insured.
7. Businesses continue to get their tax benefits for offering health insurance which they also do to woo talent in their specific industries. Under Obamacare, the tax credit to businesses offering financial aid to employees to pay health insurance premiums would be increased to 50% in 2015.
8. Obamacare would reduce the budget deficit by $143 billion. This would be realized over ten years through some revised taxes and by sharing the cost burdens with pharmacy companies and healthcare providers.
1. Obamacare doesn’t suit people who have existing insurance policies and can comfortably afford the coverage. Such policies have got cancelled if the coverage did not include all ten essential health benefits, some of which may not be a necessity for an individual or family.
2. About five million people stand to have their employer healthcare plans cancelled.
3. The nature of the coverage being assured through Obamacare would have a huge cost burden in the first few years. Preventive testing and care is expensive and many people would opt for it, leading to high medical spending.
4. People without insurance and those who don’t qualify for or don’t have Medicaid would be assessed a tax of 1% of their income or $95, whichever is higher. The tax would be increased in 2015.
5. Estimates put the figure of people who would pay the tax at four million. This would tantamount to a total tax of about $54 billion, which the uninsured would bear.
6. Those earning $200,000 and higher and couples filing for $250,000 and above would pay additional taxes for Medicare.
7. Excise taxes for medical device importers, manufacturers and several types of firms have been revised and increased.
The deductible threshold for medical expenses was applicable to amounts exceeding 7.5% of the income earlier. Now, families can only account for the expenses above 10% of their income.
Pharmacy companies would have to compensate for the donut hole in Medicare Part D and they would end up paying $84.8 billion. Consequently, costs of drugs would increase should the companies decide to pass down the financial load to consumers.