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For many years, the healthcare crisis in the United State has been a hot topic of discussion. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the Affordable Care Act has been at the center of political debate since it was signed into law on 23rd March 2010. Popularly known as Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act was established to reform health systems in the United States by providing and improving access to quality and affordable healthcare systems.
To better understand the ACA several studies have been conducted with the aim to examine its implications. One such study was conducted by Esmaeil Salem who attempted to determine some of the causal effects of the ACA. His paper examined the impact of the rebates by health insurance companies on lapse behavior of the insureds. He used data from a private insurance company and to ensure that he obtained valid inference he used policies that had been issued on or before January 2012. The Affordable Care Act has the potential to provide better healthcare to all American citizens especially to low-income families, and it is also capable of addressing various issues linked to the current healthcare policies.
According to Salem (2016), the ACA has significantly increased the number of up-to-date vaccines. The act provided new provisions that aimed to boost the coverage of the preventive service. He conducted an assessment on nine vaccines which were recommended for infants between the age of nineteen to thirty-five months by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Results indicated that high-income families utilized more benefits in regards to the Hepatitis A vaccine while low-income families benefited more from the Varicella vaccine. This showed that the ACA was effective in improving immunization rates. Salem also suggested that vaccination costs were potential barriers to immunization. The ACA could potentially reduce vaccination costs for particular vaccines by preventing delays that occurred due to costs. For instance, the ACA would prove useful in DTaP cases since individuals who failed to get the vaccination were more likely to be hospitalized in comparison to other vaccines. The cost of admission per person was also relatively high.
One requirement of the Affordable Care Act is that a major medical insurance plan should only spend at least eighty to eighty-five percent of collected premium dollars. This meant that insurance companies had to refund their policyholders each year if they failed to meet the Medical Loss Ratio. Rebates varied depending on the insurance plan. Salem investigated the changes in insureds’ retention rates after new rebate standards under the ACA were set. He found that rebates efficiently discouraged insured from collapsing, more especially in markets with fewer rivals. More significant discounts winded up in the lower lapse rates. He recommended that specific pricing should be set since rebates were more successful in states with fewer competitors (Salem, 2016).
The Affordable Care Act is necessary to improve the healthcare and well-being of citizens. The paper by Salem confirms this. The author was able to provide useful qualitative information that indicated the benefits of having such an act. He, however, failed to conduct in-depth analysis on some aspects such as the relation of the ACA and immunization costs. From this paper, we can see that despite its many advantages, Obamacare is not perfect and more reforms need to be done to improve particular areas. No one is particularly certain the ACA policies can continuously solve long-term healthcare cost problems in the U.S, but they can indeed provide the first step to understanding what works and what doesn't. In spite of its rocky start, it seems that The Affordable Care Act might be in for a smoother future.
Salem, E. (2016). Essays on Two Implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Theses and Dissertations, Paper 1194.
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