Federal Health Bill: Obamacare
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was initiated by the former president of America, Obama intended to reform the healthcare system in the United States with the enactment of the law to benefit all Americans. However, some Americans have decried the Obamacare law as an unwarranted invasion of the affairs of individuals as well as private businesses hence they want in to be repealed. Obamacare, just like other newly enrolled programs has both positive and negative at that attributes that render it debatable in the public arena. Obamacare requires a lot of finances as shown in the Congressional Budget Office, which approximates that the Affordable Care Act will require about $1.34 trillion in subsequent decades. With the national debt currently exceeding $19.8 trillion, the taxpayers are worried that the enormous cost of Obamacare is gratuitous and that it will only lead the country to additional extravagant expenditure. Since the new healthcare cost is huge, the amount will have to be financed by the taxpayer’s money.
Federal Health Bill: Obamacare
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been the largest overhaul healthcare system in the United States since 1960. Notably, the primary aim of the Obamacare system is to extend the coverage of the health insurance to approximately 15% of the US population who lack healthcare insurance cover. Additionally, the regulation intended to cater for individuals who were not covered by their employers and those not covered by the health programs for the needy, elderly, and poor in the United States (The Health Entrepreneur, 2016). The government offered subsidies that were aimed at making the coverage more affordable to ensure that all the American citizens have a health insurance cover. The reduction of the insurance costs brings the young, needy, as well as healthy people in the medical insurance system. Laws have been enacted with these aimed at banning the insurance companies from refusing to offer health coverage to individuals with pre-existing health conditions. There are also regulations that encourage corporations to expand the admissibility of the Medicaid health programs that are run by the government for the poor. All these are aimed at ensuring the poor individuals in society has access to medical services coverage. The Obamacare law aims at reducing the expenditure of the health sector of the US, which is the highest when compared with other different sectors of the nation (The Health Entrepreneur, 2016).
The primary challenge comes about when the Republicans claim that the Obamacare law imposes too much cost on the business sector, terming it as a job killer. However, since the implementation of the Obamacare, there was a rise in employment opportunities by approximately 9%. The American citizens have also decried the Obamacare law as an unwarranted invasion into the affairs of individuals as well as private businesses. Veritable industries of conservative, advocacy groups and political parties are fighting against the Obamacare law that was proposed by Mr. Obama in 2009 during his first term of presidency. Whereas the goal of the Affordable Care Act is providing health insurance coverage to millions of individuals who would not have afforded the coverage, there is some inclusion of dubious features in the bill, which causes concerns among the liberals as well as conservatives (Harris, 2016).
Obamacare requires a lot of finances as shown in the Congressional Budget Office, which approximates that the Affordable Care Act will require about $1.34 trillion over the subsequent decades. With the national debt currently exceeding $19.8 trillion, the taxpayers are worried that the huge cost of Obamacare would cost the government a lot of money. Since the new healthcare cost is huge, the amount will have to be financed by the taxpayer`s money. Undoubtedly, as a program, Obamacare sounds quite expensive. During the first introduction of the program, government agencies alongside other organizations gave its possible impacts in the long term. Proponents suggested that ACA would have a positive effect in the long term whereas the opponents argued that it would add an extra burden to the already devastated national debt (Harris, 2016). Besides, it is contended that the affordable healthcare comes at a huge cost, which makes it challenging for the taxpayers to fund the system.
The Obama Care was instituted in 2010. It is a brainchild of the former president of the United States, Barrack Obama. It sought to offer health insurance to the citizens of the united states who had been locked out. The program was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, and most of the provisions were implemented in the preceding year. Notably, significant amendments were made to the policy before it was brought into force. During the initiation of the program, President Obama asserted that the Americans needed security when it came to their healthcare. Notably, the Affordable Care Act was aimed at providing healthcare insurance coverage to more than 30 million people who were not insured through the provision of federal subsidies as well as Medicaid to the lower and middle-class Americans (The Health Entrepreneur, 2016).
The concept that was tried by President Obama was not a new one. The former Democratic presidents had tried it, but unsuccessfully. Cumulatively, the presidents spent 75 years trying to find the right program, but they failed. Indeed, during the signing in of the Obamacare program in 2010, President Obama rightfully said that there had been generations of Americans who underwent struggles to ensure that a similar program was implemented. At that time, the President used the Obamacare as a foundation for his political campaign. Ever since the Affordable Care Act has been in a perpetual state of mortal peril. Over the past years, the political class, especially the Republicans, have criticized and tried to repeal Obamacare with the argument that is it is unacceptable and expensive for the nation in the long run. There have been several occasions when the Obamacare was expected to fall, but it did not. The first moment when Obamacare was expected to fall was the period when Scott Brown was elected as the Senate of United States. The second occasion was during the decision by the Supreme Court concerning the constitutionality of Obamacare (The Health Entrepreneur, 2016).
During the court’s ruling, even before Obamacare was signed into law, Republicans had already started plotting means of overturning the program. Individuals opposed the program arguing that every American citizen would be required to acquire health insurance or pay a penalty for failing to do so. According to Americans, this was unconstitutional given that the government has no authority to force people to purchase specific services. The third time when Obamacare was expected to fall was when the government tried to shut off the policy when the healthcare.gov got to a disastrous start. During the early October, the right-wing elements, which were led by Senator Ted Cruz, vehemently opposed the federal government’s moves. The argument was that the program should be defunded or be delayed before full implementation. However, the shutdown failed and consequently millions of individuals registered in the health coverage (The Health Entrepreneur, 2016).
Social, Economic, and Political Impacts of Obamacare
Obamacare makes it possible for the young children to acquire healthcare insurance. According to the Affordable Care Act, people who are covered by their parents’ cover will continually be covered until they reach the age of 26. The extended duration of coverage aids college and high school graduates to continue their insurance coverage under their guardians until they can purchase their healthcare plan or gain full-time employment that pays for their healthcare insurance coverage. The Obamacare law legally requires all the American citizens inclusive of the youths to acquire coverage failure to which they will be penalized. The ability of the Obamacare to cover the young Americans ensures that they have enough resources and time to get financial security as well as healthy lifestyle before they are entirely independent (Del Valle, Frankel, Costa-i-Font, McGuire, & Serra-Sastre, 2013).
Apart from the young people, Obamacare has had a great impact on the women due to the new coverage options offered based on pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy. Fortunately, there is no any American citizen who can be turned down based on their pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act, which is a great accomplishment for the health of women. Currently, when it comes to choosing providers of healthcare, women have a wide range of options to choose from, which will make them spend less money. It is argued that due to the pre-existing condition, women should not be charged more than men and that the cost for coverage should be equal across the board to enable everyone pays for the healthcare cost (Fan, 2014). Moreover, there have been advancements regarding cost reduction to the women who are burdened with the cost of medicines for themselves as well as for the children. Women who are pregnant can also benefit out of the Obamacare law, which allows them to access free checkups and preventative care before during and after pregnancy to ensure that the women can afford the best healthcare insurance coverage (Fan, 2014).
Obamacare has been beneficial to people by easing the access to healthcare services for most of the American citizens. People with pre-existing conditions tend to have better and easier access to both health insurance and medical facilities as compared to others. Moreover, people with chronic health issues ought not worry about being ignored when it comes to the issuance of health insurance, which was a common phenomenon prior to the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Insurance companies have been pressured by Obamacare to cover necessities, such as screening, which are preventive measures for diseases. The rationale behind the enactment of Obamacare by the previous administration is that it helps in the reduction of healthcare costs thereby reducing the pressure often mounted on taxpayers whenever they seek medical services. In essence, it is undeniable that Obamacare has assisted the residents of America by making medical services more accessible and affordable (Fan, 2014).
Proponent Arguments of Obamacare
The elderly and the not financially stable individuals are the primary beneficiaries of Obamacare since the insurance companies cover most of the healthcare costs that they incur. The Affordable Care Act requires that all insurance plans and other medical service plans take care of the essential health care needs. The preventive healthcare is usually provided at no or minimum costs (Facts, 2015), which includes chronic diseases management, domestic violence screening, and well-woman visits. The Affordable Care Act also covers lab tests during disease diagnosis, including colonoscopies and mammograms and offers free vision and dental care for the children, newborn as well as maternity care (Amadeo, 2018). Mothers are also able to receive time off work allowing them to access private rooms where they can take care of their babies. Obamacare has preventive care units, which minimize costs through identification and treatment of diseases before they advance to emergencies including the treatment of chronic diseases, mental health as well as addiction that can be expensive to treat. Thus, insurance companies take coverage of such conditions. In most cases, if the conditions are left unattended most of the individuals may end up in prisons or homeless, which might cost the government additional finances to cater for them (Amadeo, 2018).
The Affordable Care Act offers assistance to individuals with chronic conditions, disabilities, and injuries by doing away with the annual and lifetime limits, which aids individuals with different ailments to obtain insurance cover for their illnesses (Amadeo, 2018). Moreover, Obamacare prevents Insurance corporations from denying individuals health policies because they have a preexisting health condition. In the earlier period, it was termed as pre-existing conditions and individuals with such illness were denied insurance coverage. Besides, companies used to drop insurance coverage because of a mistake one made during his or her engagement with them or an individual indicated the wrong disease he or she was suffering from. However, Obamacare brought a solution to the challenges by providing healthcare to Americans regardless of their illnesses or conditions (Amadeo,2018).
Obamacare allows for providing free wellness exams. Older adults can arrange a meeting with the doctors to help them to come up with a preventative plan on how to improve their health. In 2012, during the first seven months, approximately 1.6 million senior individuals with disabilities seized the opportunity of acquiring insurance coverage (Schakowsky, 2012). Moreover, Affordable Care Act makes it possible to manage different medication. According to the reports from the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, around 65-69-year-old individuals consume an average of 14 medicines annually, whereas about 80-84-year-old individuals have 18 prescriptions averagely. There is the likelihood that taking different medication causes antagonistic drug reactions believed to result in 28 percent of the total senior hospitalizations in the U.S. The antagonistic drug reactions also lead to approximately 32,000 hip fractures every year in the U.S. However, with Obamacare, in place all Part D plans are mandated to provide therapy services in medication management when dealing with elderly patients who experience various illnesses (Schakowsky, 2012).
Obamacare offers aid to the low-income individuals who cannot cater for the medical expenses. Roughly, nine million low-income earners with disabilities are usually covered by both Medicaid and Medicare. Obamacare provides supplementary healthcare to them through the elimination of part D cost of prescription drugs. Furthermore, low-income elderly individuals who are living with several chronic diseases will be able to acquire new help through health homes that are designed to offer assistance as well as manage their care. A new Federal Coordinated Health Care Office is in place and its primary objective is to help people with low income to receive eligible remunerations including wellness exams as well as wellness new preventive services (Schakowsky, 2012).
Obamacare has lowered the costs of prescription drugs. Approximately 25.4 million senior residents voluntarily registered for the Part D prescription medication, which was generated during the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act.1. Some of the benefits of Medicare Modernization Act are that it paves the way for coinsurance and deductibles. Also, the provision of coverage gaps ensure that the enrolled individuals are responsible for financing the costs of the drugs until a threshold limit is reached. 95% of the cost of medication is full once the threshold is reached, according to the part D plan (Schakowsky, 2012). Obamacare has also eliminated overpayments and in turn, improved the Medicare Advantage Plans. Initially, private insurers debated that they could offer similar benefits to those provided by the traditional Medicare, although at a lower price. Once the private insurers were allowed into the Medicare, the results were very different. The costs of private Medicare Advantage plans were more compared to that of traditional Medicare. Earlier on, before the enactment of the Obamacare, the cost of Medicare was $14 billion more than that of Medicare. Additionally, the seniors who had not yet enrolled in the program paid more because Part B premium comprised of total Medicare costs. However, after the enactment of the Obamacare, the cost of Medicare dropped by 16% making it affordable to the residents of a country (Schakowsky, 2012).
Opponent Arguments of Obamacare
The Obamacare has several setbacks when it comes to personal freedom for families as well as individuals whereby people are in a dilemma as to whether to pay for the non-compliance fine or acquire health insurance. Before the implementation of the Obamacare, people decided on whether to have health insurance coverage or not. The system did not work because most of the residents, who wanted a health insurance cover, were not able to afford it. Presently, the government forces individuals to either pay for insurance coverage or pay hefty fines as required by the law. Most of the residents argue that the tactic used to make individuals acquire the health insurance cover is a violation of the fundamental human right. Individuals wonder whether the high cost of Obamacare will translate to an increase in the number of premiums. Indeed, premium rates will rise in different portions making some people pay more than others for the same products (Brazen, 2009).
One of the most significant factors that prompt opposition to Obamacare is that Affordable Care Act supports treatment options and medical procedures that are against the religious beliefs. The argument is a legitimate concern since the Affordable Care Act is financed by tax payer’s money, which will be channeled towards different treatments, such as contraceptives. Besides, individuals will pay so much money for coverage that they may never use. An example is a young male paying for mammogram screening (Haislmaier, 2011). Obamacare negatively affects businesses due to the way they offer insurance coverage and the type of coverage provided (Torre, 2014). Business owners have to keep up with policy changes and are forced to cover employees in a way that was not required by the previous regulations. Currently, ACA laws require companies with more than 50 employees who are full-time to offer health insurance (Brazen,2009). Moreover, due to the availability of free healthcare, individuals may not be careful with their health and, as a result, may end up misusing doctors as well as emergency rooms.
Nurse’s Perspectives on Obamacare
Nurses usually have the closest view on the impact of different health programs since they are usually at the frontline on matters relating to health. Apparently, in a survey, approximately 56% of nurses claimed that the Affordable Care Act hurt how they provided their healthcare services. The nurses argued that the introduction of the Obamacare insurance coverage has resulted in more waiting time for bays making it extremely difficult to book appointments and shorten the visiting duration by the healthcare providers. Due to too much paperwork in the healthcare facilities, the shortages of doctors and nurses is worsening (Schroth, 2016). Additionally, the nurses claimed that the ACA led to a reduction of healthcare cost for a portion of a patient. However, there was a significant increase in the cost of healthcare from the medical provider and patient perspectives with the respondents also noting that the increase in the cost of prescription drugs led many patients into facing penalties rather than offering insurance coverage (Schroth, 2016). On the contrary, I am on the view that the ACA has had a positive effect to the healthcare, the primary reason is that people currently have insurance cover that allows them to access the healthcare facilities and be preemptive with their health.
It is clear that most of the health-insurance companies that offered policies through the Affordable Care Act were losing vast amounts of money, which indicated that the policy needed to be reformed. The act could be reformed in various ways. For example, the government may start by minimizing the burden people face through reducing the cost of healthcare services since affordability is a significant issue. Cost reduction could be made directly by increasing the thresholds of income at which the subsidies phase out (Dickman, Himmelstein, McCormick, & Woolhandler, 2015). Alternatively, the government could offer subsidies to insurance companies more so to those serving in risky areas. Another significant challenge is the lack of competition among the companies providing insurance coverages in Obama administration (Cassidy, 2016). However, the problem can be solved through subsidizing the insurers that are entering in these markets.
Obamacare could be fixed by instilling high fines to people who do not acquire insurance covers. Ostensibly, one of the most significant challenges that are faced by insurance companies is that there are too many sick people and very few healthy individuals who are registering for the insurance plans. Due to the high claims by the registered members, they tend to increase their normal price, which in turn scares away the young and healthy people (Cassidy, 2016). If the process is left unchecked, it could lead to falling enrollment and rising prices. The challenge can be solved by raising the fines faced by people who do not purchase the insurance cover. Notably, under the Affordable Care Act terms, enrolment was not based on the choice of a person, but it was a legal requirement (Cassidy, 2016).
When Barrack Obama the former president of the United States conceptualized the Obamacare Act OF 2010, he envisaged a country whose people are not denied proper healthcare because of the lack of access to health insurance covers. For the longest time, the United States was in the spotlight for having the highest percentage of the population with minimal or no access to basic medical services and coverage. Initially, some individuals, including the low-income earners and people who have pre-existing conditions, were locked out of insurance covers because of different reasons. The policy changed that, but instead of being universally welcomed some Americans criticized it. One the major opponents of the program is current President Trump; whose administration seeks to repeal the program. The chief reason was that the policy would cost the country money that it could not afford in the future. The taxpayers are worried that they would have to pay more in taxes to support the act. While the act has a lot of positive attributes, it also has negative ones that ought to be reformed to improve its efficacy.
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Brazen, V. (2009). The Pros and Cons Of Universal Health Care In The United States. Brazen Publishers. Retrieved from https://www.brazen.com/blog/archive/government/the-pros-and-cons-of-universal-health-care-in-the-united-states/
Cassidy, J. (2016). Three Ways to Fix Obamacare. The New Yorker. Retrieved fromhttps://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/three-ways-to-fix-obamacare
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Harris, B. H. (2016). The Affordable Care Act: An Analysis of Healthcare Access in the United States. Retrieved from http://arizona.openrepository.com/arizona/bitstream/10150/612990/1/azu_etd_mr_2016_0096_sip1_m.pdf
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