Topic on Health care reform controversial
Health care reform has been a controversial topic for decades. Many people believe that the healthcare system in the United States is broken and in need of reform. In recent years there have been several significant changes to the healthcare system including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This article will explore how health care reform has worked up to this point the impact it has had on individuals and the healthcare industry and what the future may hold.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA):
The ACA also known as Obamacare was signed into law in 2010. The law aimed to provide affordable healthcare to all Americans and reduce healthcare costs. It required all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty and it provided subsidies to help lower-income individuals and families afford coverage. It also expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income Americans.
Why is Health Care Reform causing such a stir among Americans? I believe that statements like “don’t touch my Medicare” and “everyone should have access to state-of-the-art health care irrespective of cost” show a lack of knowledge about the history of our health care system, its resources today and in the future, and the funding challenges that America will face in the future. While everyone ponders how the healthcare system came to be considered to be in a crisis state.
Let’s attempt to reduce some of the emotion in the discussion by briefly discussing how health care developed in this nation and how that influenced our culture and way of thinking about it. Using that as a starting point, how about we examine the benefits and drawbacks of the Obama administration’s proposed health care reforms as well as the GOP ideas?
We can all agree that having access to cutting-edge medical services would be beneficial for this nation. One of life’s greatest problems is dealing with a serious illness, and having no way to pay for treatment is downright terrifying. But as we shall see, if we are informed, reaching this objective will not be simple without each of our individual contributions.
These are the themes I will touch on to try to make some sense out of what is happening to American health care and the steps we can personally take to make things better.
- A recent history of American health care – what has driven the costs so high?
- Key elements of the Obama health care plan
- The Republican view of health care – free market competition
- Universal access to state of the art health care – a worthy goal but not easy to achieve
- what can we do?
First, let’s get a little historical perspective on American health care. This is not intended to be an exhausted look into that history but it will give us an
appreciation of how the health care system and our expectations for it developed. What drove costs higher and higher? One of the most significant provisions of the ACA was the requirement that insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. This provision was a game-changer for many Americans who had previously been denied coverage or charged exorbitant premiums because of their health status.
what can we do?
First, let’s get a little historical perspective on American health care. This is not intended to be an exhausted look into that history but it will give us an appreciation of how the health care system and our expectations for it developed. What drove costs higher and higher?
To begin, let’s turn to the American civil war. In that war, dated tactics and the carnage inflicted by modern weapons of the era combined to cause ghastly results. Not generally known is that most of the deaths on both sides of that war were not the result of actual combat but to what happened after a battlefield wound was inflicted. To begin with, evacuation of the wounded moved at a snail’s pace and this caused severe delays in treating the wounded.
Secondly many wounds were subjected to wound care, related surgeries and/or amputations of the affected limbs and this often resulted in the onset of massive infection. So you might survive a battle wound only to die at the hands of medical care providers who although well-intentioned, their interventions were often quite lethal. High death tolls can also be ascribed to everyday sicknesses and diseases in a time when no antibiotics existed. In total something like 600,000 deaths occurred from all causes, over 2% of the U.S. population at the time!
The ACA also required insurance companies to cover certain essential health benefits such as preventative care prescription drugs and mental health services. This provision aimed to ensure that all Americans had access to the basic healthcare services they needed Health care reform.
Impact of the ACA:
The ACA had a significant impact on the healthcare industry and individuals. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from 16% in 2010 to 8.6% in 2016. This significant decrease was due to the expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidies for private insurance.
The ACA also helped reduce healthcare costs for many Americans.
The law mandated that insurance companies spend at least 80% of premiums on medical care not administrative costs or profits. This provision helped reduce the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for many Americans Health care reform.
The ACA also had a positive impact on preventative care. The law required insurance companies to cover preventative services such as cancer screenings and flu shots without charging copays or deductibles. This provision helped encourage Americans to get the preventive care they needed to stay healthy.
However the ACA also had some negative impacts. Many insurance companies withdrew from the ACA marketplace leaving consumers with fewer choices and higher premiums. Additionally some Americans who did not qualify for subsidies found the cost of coverage to be too high and opted to pay the penalty instead.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA):
The AHCA was introduced in 2017 as a replacement for the ACA. The bill aimed to reduce healthcare costs and provide more flexibility for states. However the bill faced significant opposition from Democrats and some Republicans and it ultimately failed to pass.
One of the most controversial provisions of the AHCA was the elimination of the individual mandate. Without the mandate healthy individuals could opt-out of purchasing insurance leaving sicker individuals in the insurance pool and driving up premiums.
The AHCA also proposed significant changes to Medicaid including a shift to a block-grant system and the elimination of the Medicaid expansion. The block-grant system would have given states more flexibility to design their Medicaid programs but could have also resulted in reduced funding for the program.
Impact of the AHCA:
Since the AHCA did not pass it did not have a significant impact on the healthcare industry or individuals. However the proposed changes to Medicaid and the elimination of the individual mandate would have had significant consequences for many Americans.
The Future of Health Care Reform:
Health care reform remains a contentious issue in the United States. While the ACA has improved access to healthcare for many Americans it still has its flaws. Premiums and out-of-pocket costs remain high for some individuals and the ACA marketplace continues to face challenges with insurance companies withdrawing from the marketplace Health care reform.
There are several proposals for health care reform currently being discussed. One proposal is to expand Medicare to cover all Americans also known as Medicare for All. This proposal aims to provide universal coverage and lower healthcare costs by negotiating lower prices with providers and eliminating the need for insurance companies. However the proposal faces significant opposition from some lawmakers and the healthcare industry.
Another proposal is to build upon the ACA and make improvements to the law. This proposal aims to increase access to affordable healthcare by increasing subsidies and reducing premiums. It also seeks to stabilize the ACA marketplace by implementing policies to encourage more insurance companies to participate.
Health Care reform has been a long-standing issue in the United States. The ACA made significant strides in expanding access to healthcare and reducing costs but it still has its flaws. The proposed AHCA aimed to make significant changes to the healthcare system but it ultimately failed to pass.
The future of Health care reform is uncertain but there are several proposals being discussed. Whether it’s expanding Medicare to cover all Americans or making improvements to the ACA health care reform will continue to be a contentious issue in the years to come. The goal should be to provide universal coverage and reduce healthcare costs for all Americans while ensuring the healthcare industry remains stable and sustainable.