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Healthcare reform is a contentious issue in the United States. There have been innumerable reform promises, but few have actually come to fruition (Jennings). A watershed moment occurred in the year 2010. Healthcare reform legislation in the United States was enacted, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as the Obama Healthcare Plan, and the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act. Reforms are still being introduced and improved in order to enroll as many citizens as possible in the programs by making healthcare more inexpensive and controllable. We would conduct an accurate evaluation of the Obama Healthcare Plan in our article. The review would involve considering the primary issue regarding the plan, the main participants of the program and the interest groups focus on the issue.
The Obamacare was a new health plan reform introduced in 2010 aimed at streamlining the healthcare sector. It is made up of other Acts such as the Fiscal Responsibility Act, Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act and the Student Aid. Besides a significant portion of the bill focusing on healthcare reforms, there were also provisions and amendments for critical issues such as food, drugs, and cosmetics (Obama). The plan is relatively long and complicated but strives to provide the majority of Americans with Affordable Quality Health Insurance by attempting to bring down the ever-growing expenditure on healthcare spending. Some of the reforms integrated include tax breaks, funding, rules and regulations for Insurance Companies, rights and protection and also the creation of more job opportunities (Huntington).
The Issue with the Obamacare
There seems to be gains and losses due to the legislation across the board. However, the pros seem to be numerous than the cons regarding the long-term effect of the health programs. Insurance companies and other institutions earning more from the profitable health industry will see their earnings decline. Despite that, there might be varying benefits across diverse areas. The citizens would take advantage of the turn of events by enjoying more coverage schemes and elimination of discrimination (Knowles and Brian and Rebecca). We would analyze some of the issues with regards to the economy and the general healthcare industry that form the major subject.
The law aims at extending medical aid to 15% of American residents who lack it (Oberlander). They are primarily those without a health plan in the government programs such as those for the sick and elderly besides people who aren't insured by the companies they work. To be exact, individuals that fall below the 138% poverty line would benefit from medical covers, and 9 million children were also part of the coverage (Oberlander). For its prosperity, the law is meant to make sure all Americans access health insurance by offering subsidies for the goal to be realized which translates to lowering of insurance costs and attracting more young people into the medical scheme. In the long run, millions of individuals would get enrolled into the health programs improving the quality of care, expansion of a Medicaid through their employers and the health insurance marketplace (Oberlander).
More than half the population who isn’t insured can gain from low-cost insurance and assistance from out-of-pockets costs using the health market. It has necessitated and brought about increased private coverage and provision of minimal essential coverage. What is more, more than twenty million people in the long-run can get an exemption from fees charged, and those with the exemptions would be valid for enrollment.
The Obamacare is meant to ensure minimum coverage. The result would be to offer a shield against medical benefits such as the elimination of the dollar lifetime limit, reduce the deductibles charge, the offering of free preventative services and bring down out-of-pocket maximums. The cuts would see a decline in the cost measures that account for the ever increasing healthcare spending (Obama).
The other benefit of the legislation with regards to the controversial issue of the sustainability of healthcare programs is the patient's protection comes into place (Obama). It is evident in a scenario where one makes a fault in the application of medical insurance programs or gets sick then they are dropped from the coverage. However, the situation might change since such past occurrences would be foregone. Furthermore, automatic rate hikes and gender discrimination incidents would quickly be challenged by legal suits (Knowles and Brian and Rebecca). Therefore, all the funds earned by the insurance companies would go through an accountability process and channeled towards improving the quality of care instead of remunerating top executives.
However, of concern rising is the impact the law will have on the economy and general increase of healthcare programs for America. The Obamacare is estimated to cost a lot of money for its implementation. There is estimation that the legislation would increase health care spending by over $1.34 trillion in a decade. In 2016 alone, there was an expectation that the costs would hit $110 billion without consideration of the current budget deficit which stands at $19.8 trillion, therefore, raising many questions about its sustainability (Orszag and Ezekiel). All that will overall lead to further spending and the taxpayers would have to shoulder the burden and the effects. New tax rules and policies would be introduced to cover up for the costly medical program which would be bore by the citizens. Taxpayers' medical schemes will considerably spiral upwards, in the long run, knocking out many people from the health programs. More financial pressure would impact the national budget deficit that is already in a disastrous state.
The mandate that is in place calls for all citizens who are economically capable should take up the health coverage, pay a fee plus obtain an exemption. However, complexities might arise on issues related to tax filing arise. Those who fall short of the Federal poverty guideline would have to get sidelined and wouldn't enjoy the benefit of assistance thereby leading to adjustments of tax credits. Also, to get the exemptions many procedures would be in place such as submitting a form for accreditation and approval further complicating the matter.
The availability of many options at the disposal of the client further complicates the whole process. To maintain a private insurance system, consumers would have to navigate the delicate path of buying and under buying the premiums. All that will culminate to a healthcare system where the availability of funds would be a prerequisite in the obtaining of a better and quality healthcare plan. In short, the situation would not alter in any way and would be similar to past programs (Manchikanti and Joshua).
The provision where businesses with more than 50 employees mandated to insure them would have a ripple effect on the economy. The result would be increased layoffs as a consequence of the increase in operational costs to the firms which never anticipated the occurrence. Additionally, the business environment would be impacted by making the environment tough and unfriendly more so for start-ups. There would also be a reduction in the working hours, and this would make the less earning employees lack an affordable health plan. The health advantages on workers could rise. Lower earning employees could be lucky in obtaining better value in the marketplace platform. However, assistance from their employers would complicate the matter since they would not be valid from eligibility. Those who would rely on employer’s coverage would have to forego the marketplace platforms (Manchikanti and Joshua).
Enrollment for minimum essential coverage is only obtainable during open enrollment with the exclusion of one having exclusive access to the registration. The people with a lack of knowledge on how a comparison of the various plans work would have a rough time. It’s after the discovery of how cost sharing occurs in higher deductibles. The confusion may make them acquire non-minimum insurance coverage (Manchikanti and Joshua).
Purchase of the care would create variations considering the probability of different demographics suffering from an illness. Younger people who are less prone to getting sick could shop for better insurance coverages as compared to their older counterparts who are at a high risk of becoming ill. Therefore, the variations make the plan unfair and full of disparities in its implementation (Manchikanti and Joshua).
With consideration of the issue on both sides, the matter is of immense importance to the governmental process. It's in that it would ensure controlling of the ripple effects that the legislation would have on the economy. Among the effects would be controlling of the spending on healthcare so as to lower the pressure on the budget deficit. Moreover, it makes the health care system affordable and of quality to all eligible citizens. Better decision-making abilities would get enhanced by obtaining of balance on both sides of the controversy hence assisting the government in drafting comprehensive and well thought out policies based on consideration of different frameworks.
Those Involved in the Issue
The Obamacare predominantly involves three parties namely the clients, insurance companies and the government at large. The primary government agencies tasked with the mandate of policy making includes the Congress, Federal and State Courts, the President, Cabinet and other interest groups. The issue of Obamacare has many stakeholders who are involved each with an objective of safeguarding their interests. The parties want the best outcome from legislation enacted that would enhance equity and not burden another party through unfair terms and conditions.
One of the interest groups is the government who has a stake with regards to implementation of the policy. It’s the one that provides and sets the medical program's policies to get implemented with the aim of ensuring affordability and improvement of quality care (Obama). Through the marketplace, they can provide subsidies for the citizens and determine those eligible for Medicaid. The marketplace provides the most suitable platform for anyone searching for cost assistance. On the contrary, a principal broker may assist one to obtain the most appropriate plan regarding the area of jurisdiction. The marketplace implemented by the government makes health care access more enhanced by diversifying the pool of choices for the citizens according to their preference (Obama). However, there is a threat of under purchasing or over buying health policies. The situation complicates the matter as the exempted fee could come in place, therefore, raising premium charges significantly. For a solution to realize, consultation is necessary to aid in cost assistance since you could end up purchasing health policies with similar premiums.
The other participants focused on the controversy are the health insurance institutions. They have been backing off from the legislation since its success is dependent on the younger demography signing in for the programs. However, it seems not to be the case thereby raising the insurance costs that further drive operations down. Also, the firms are mandated not to hike charges and are supposed to cover those with pre-existing conditions. The increased regulations have complicated matters more which seems not to translate to an influx of clients to conceal for the provisions (Manchikanti and Joshua). To others, the subsidies offered appear not to be a fair deal that could encourage and lure them to take up the plan. Despite the challenges, new firms are on the rise to take advantage of opportunities in the law with the aim of attracting more clients and profiting from the available leeway.
Clients are the other interest group that focuses on the issue. Many people are under limitation regarding personal freedom since their choices are constrained to either acquire a medical cover or face penalties for non-compliance or under particular conditions that one qualifies for an exemption. Before the bill, people had a choice to either get insured or not, but circumstances have taken a turn around. One is compelled to either get insured or face fines. The penalty keeps on increasing when one doesn't pay the charges. Despite the benefits that the legislation has brought in place such as bringing more people into the healthcare programs, there is the ever rising concern of the premium costs (Manchikanti and Joshua). However, the increase would vary for different segments of the demography with access to a similar service. The younger generation would be forced to pay more as compared to their older counterparts. It's with the aim of ensuring a balance for the coverage to offsets the costs of older people who are at a high risk of falling ill at a quick rate.
There is also a focus on businesses that form the other segment with a consideration on the issue. There would be significant changes in how companies offer health insurance plus the coverage they offer. Premiums on institutions have gone up thereby affecting the livelihoods of many. The business owners have resulted to coping up with the turn of events that has obligated them to cover their employees different from previous regulations. Firms with more than 50 employees are supposed to cover for their health insurance to full-time workers entirely. The other looming impact is the effect on business thriving and success. Smaller companies and startups wouldn’t be unable to cope with the situation hence being driven out of business. Moreover, the non-compliance fines would be more catastrophic regarding their operation. Retrenchment has become the other alternative of the institutions as their operational costs have risen significantly thus creating a need to cater for the provisions despite some receiving tax credits for abiding by the law. Uncertainty and long term effects, therefore, loom with regards to the business environment (Manchikanti and Joshua).
In conclusion, the Obamacare has an issue about its impact on the economy and overall health industry. Nevertheless, despite some challenges that result with regards to its implementation, the benefits achieved can’t be ignored and overlooked. Careful negotiations and debates on the matter need to come in place if the faults are to be rectified and make the legislation a success.
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Jennings, Christopher C. "Implementation and the legacy of health care reform." New England Journal of Medicine 362.15 (2010): e51.
Knowles, Eric D., Brian S. Lowery, and Rebecca L. Schaumberg. "Racial prejudice predicts opposition to Obama and his health care reform plan." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46.2 (2010): 420-423.
Manchikanti, Laxmaiah, and Joshua A. Hirsch. "Obama health care for all Americans: Practical implications." Pain Physician 12.2 (2009): 289-304.
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