The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the most comprehensive reform of the U.S. healthcare system. The ACA improves the non-group insurance market, mandates that all people have health insurance, expands public insurance, raises government revenues from a variety of new taxes, and controls spending on Medicare. The ACA makes health care services affordable and accessible to almost everyone. The fact that it requires all health insurance plans to cover at least ten crucial health rights and benefits, favors millions of patients and uninsured citizens by offering free or low health care costs. Consequently, it allows parents to cover their children up to the age of 26, which on the other hand, gives more profits to insurance companies.
The reform has benefited American families and children for last six years. However, after the recent election in America, the Grand Old Party (GOP) Congress has demonstrated its willingness to repeal the ACA along with the requirement that all Americans have health insurance. GOP’s leadership has shown interest in the healthcare reform since 1990 and they have supported the universal coverage as well, but due to the current political situation in the GOP, the party has shown the willingness to completely repeal the ACA. Repealing the ACA will cost billions of dollars to the economy and will increase the budget deficit by $353 (CBO,2016). Moreover, the universal coverage of healthcare reform is very crucial for America to improve the insurance industry and help millions of Americans to get covered under insurance policies.
The ACA is beneficial for the American people in the long run in terms of providing the people with better healthcare, reducing the costs of the coverage and serving as an economic stimulus
Running Head: HEALTHCARE REFORM
for the economic growth; therefore, the law should not be completely repealed and it should
remain in the healthcare system in America.
America Needs a Healthcare Reform
To achieve the goal of universal coverage of health insurance in America, on March 23 2010,
President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the most debatable reform in recent times. After the recent election in America, the Grand Old Party (GOP) Congress has debated to repeal the reform, and once again, bring the change to the healthcare system in America. But it is very important to know that America’s population is heavily dependent on health insurance coverage, and the healthcare reform such as the ACA is crucial for the economy to provide coverage to millions of people who cannot afford the health insurance without such law. The universal coverage of health insurance does not only increase the life expectancy of Americans but also reduces the costs of the coverage due to the government monitoring the insurance premium changes. The healthcare reform such as the ACA is beneficial for the American people in the long run in terms of providing the people with better healthcare, reducing the costs of the coverage and serving as an economic stimulus for the economic growth; therefore, the law should not be completely repealed and it should remain in the healthcare system in America.
The explanation of the impacts of such fundamental reform on the U.S. economy was required by the U.S. congress and other legislative departments to sign this reform into the law and was delivered by the Congressional Budget Office of the United States (CBO). The congress and the legislative departments agreed upon passing this law because it was projected that it
Running Head: HEALTHCARE REFORM
would increase the insurance coverage by 32 million people, and it would also increase the
revenues for the government which would reduce the federal budget deficit.
Many advantages of the ACA are overlooked when people talk about healthcare reform and universal health insurance coverage. The reform should be improved by enacting the cost- effective measures that would help the economy, but it should not be completely repealed because due to this law, the insurance companies cannot deny coverage to the people with preexisting conditions, the insurance companies cannot charge people differently based on their gender, the insurance companies cannot deny peoples’ claims due to the lifetime limits and there will be no limit what a person can spend on healthcare. Furthermore, people under the age 26 can be covered under their parents’ policy without having to pay higher premiums separately. It is very important for middle-income people to be able to get insurance regardless of their preexisting conditions such as cancer, which can result in many Americans being turned down from getting proper care that they need. Students get the benefit as well by enrolling under their parents’ policy without paying a separate premium each month; this saves money and reduces the stress of college students worrying about the extra expenses. The ACA also promotes health and wellness throughout the insurance industry.
The ACA rewards the quality of the care rather then the quantity. The article on the Affordable Care Act’s impact on promoting health and wellness by Michelle Vu and Annesha White (2016) explains that the reform has led to an increasing partnership between hospitals and insurance companies, which in result has increased the coordination of care. Michelle, a college of pharmacy graduate student at Mercer University, reveals in her article that, despite rising healthcare costs, joint ventures between hospitals and insurance companies are prevented from trading-off the quality and services for cost reductions. Furthermore, the patient care quality and
Running Head: HEALTHCARE REFORM
satisfaction has improved, hospitals have upgraded their technology, and the results presented in the article support that people are better off in their health insurance coverage now then they were before the ACA was signed into the law. It is also crucial to know that the reform has performed well all across the U.S., and the ACA has made it cheaper for people to buy the insurance. The healthcare reform will reduce the costs of healthcare in America. The effects of this law on the wallets of the American people are disputed and challenged by the people in America and abroad. The article, “People with high Medicaid costs” by Peter Cunningham (2015) explains that the costs of the reform have not increased a lot as compared to the benefits gained by the people and the economy due to this law. Cunningham, health behavior and policy professor at The University of Virginia, writes that people who relied on non-group coverage before 2014 are able to find more affordable options because of the larger and more varied risk pools for health plans available through federal Marketplaces. The people with preexisting conditions can also get insurance coverage for the same price as someone who doesn’t have any preexisting disorder. The ACA extends health subsidies to those with incomes from 300 percent up to 400 percent of the poverty level (approximately $46,000 for an individual), making health insurance affordable for low-and- middle-income families.
The ACA has acted as an economic stimulus for the economic growth; it has added 14 million private sector jobs over five years and has also reduced the number of people uninsured from 16.1 percent in 2009 to 11.4 percent in 2016. Cathy Schoen (2016) in a peer reviewed journal has emphasized that the ACA has acted as an economic stimulus for the economy, in part by freeing up the private and public resources for investment in jobs and production capacity. The ACA also provides the tax credits to small businesses which increases the coverage for the employees
Running Head: HEALTHCARE REFORM
all over the country. David Cutler (2013), an economics professor at Harvard University, explains that the ACA is going to create more jobs in the future due to the increase in the number of people insured, and the healthcare industry in the U.S. will prosper under this law. The law will secure coverage for all citizens, improve health outcomes, and slow cost growth; all to the benefit of the families, businesses, and the economy.
However, The Grand Old Party (GOP) Congress has already demonstrated its willingness to repeal the insurance tax subsidies and Medicaid expansion portions of the ACA, along with the requirement that all Americans have health insurance. Many Americans are skeptical about the ACA. Reihan Salam (2014) wrote in an article that ACA’s individual mandate is very confusing and misleading to Americans. The elected GOP candidates would like to dissolve the individual mandate on any insurance policies because they believe that no American should be asked to buy insurance unless he or she wants to. People believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and should have never been accepted. They also believe that instead of driving efficiency gains, the ACA’s highly prescriptive approach to insurance will stymie the cost-saving innovation and that its costs will soar as it expands. Instead of tackling the health entitlement problem, the GOP says, it will make matters worse. Salam also talked about the companies that are laying off their full-time workers due to the burden of providing them the health insurance, and they are hiring them as part-time employees instead. Americans had to leave their current insurance policies and change their doctors due to the change in the healthcare plan, but this was not previously communicated clearly by President Barack Obama’s administration. There were also some challenges faced by President Obama’s administration on the CBO’s estimate of the cost of the ACA because the healthcare reform has cost the government more than it was predicted previously. People also believe that America needs a healthcare policy that will be