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There has been a lot of attention from the media with regard to the recent Affordable Care Act in the United States. Little focus is given to how the new Act is going to affect the young and elderly receiving Medicare. This paper takes a critical look at the Affordable Care Act with an aim of analyzing its affordability, benefits, and quality as well as other key features.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the new law based on reforms in the United States health care. It refers to two separate Acts which are Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act 2010 (Rosenbaum, 2011). This Act gives an expanded Medicaid coverage to low-income Americans. The ACA provides access to care by providing coverage needed for the American citizens.
Once rolled in 2014, the ACA will allow millions of American individuals and families to access subsidized insurance coverage. The Act provides lower costs of insurance coverage, and makes insurers more accountable by setting standards be met (Rosenbaum, 2011). Furthermore, the act guarantees coverage for pregnancy and disability, or other pre-existing conditions.
The law gives Americans more access to insurance coverage as well as safe-guarding their rights. The legislation also removes dollar limits on the coverage and prohibits insurers from dropping coverage when individuals get sick on an unintentional application (Rosenbaum, 2011).
The Act also allows Americans to make appeals on insurers’ coverage decisions and allows individuals to take control over their health care issues. It sets new coverage options for young adults, senior adults, women, businesses, families with children, and people with disability. In addition to the above insurance related benefits, the ACA provides essential medical benefits such as preventive care, doctor visits, hospitalization, and prescriptions (Rosenbaum, 2011).
The ACA is projected to make Medicare more fiscally efficient through the application of cost savings. The law provides incentives to health care providers so that they can formulate strategies to provide high quality health care, and eliminate costs, wastes, and abuses in the Medicare (Family USA, n.d.). The Act will ensure that beneficiaries pay and receive high quality medical care. To achieve this, the law reins on unnecessary spending by health providers.
These reforms will save Medicare billions of dollars. The Act imposes financial penalties on hospitals when a patient acquires infections from the hospitals (Family USA, n.d.). This move will improve hospital care and save money spent on paying for health care. Finally, the Act will improve the health care delivery efficiency, by reducing wastages within the system. Therefore, the high quality care and efficiency created by the new law are among the many methods through which the Act is fiscally efficient (Family USA, n.d.).
The opponents of the ACA point at a number of issues about the consequences of the new legislation on the Medicare program. First, they argue that the law will reduce the autonomy of physicians, and hence reduce job satisfaction (Williams, 2013). The consequence of which they believe will be passed on to the patients.
They foresee patients being restricted from accessing, or having to wait for long for appointments, and receiving rationed health care services (Williams, 2013). They regard the Act as having negative impacts on jobs and the overall economy. They argue that the price controls imposed by the legislation on Medicare will be a disincentive to in the medical sector, thereby reducing investment in health care (Williams, 2013).
On the other hand, the proponents argue that this framework increases access to affordable Medicare for millions of low-income Americans and increases the provision of quality Medicare in a more pragmatic and efficient way (Family USA, n.d.). In particular, the proponents of the ACA point out that it gives people the liberty to take charge of their own health matters.
This gives autonomy to the beneficiaries to plan for their health issues instead of leaving it at the discretion of the insurers and health providers (Family USA, n.d.). Additionally, the proponents also point out that the ACA introduces the culture of prevention by encouraging beneficiaries to work together with physicians and caregivers in order to reduce health costs through adequate preventive measures (Family USA, n.d.).
The ACA will strengthen the Medicare program in the country. First, the Act’s top priority is fighting fraud in the Medicare program that has inhibited the delivery of quality health care to many Americans. Secondly, the legislation guarantees many benefits to many Americans who have been denied access to Medicare for a long time through discriminatory tactics.
Finally, the Act reforms the Medicare program by offering medical providers with new incentives to improve the quality, as well as eliminate costs and abuse to preserve the benefits for all Americans.
The ACA was enacted with a primary purpose of increasing access to Medicare for millions of Americans. The law has received a lot of attention from the media due to the arguments leveled for or against it.
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Proponents argue that the Act is a landmark reform in the Medicare program that guarantees access to affordable and quality medical care to all in the United States hence benefiting many low-income Americans. On the other hand, opponents argue that the reduction of the autonomy of health providers and physicians, works negatively against the economy. These arguments can be proved early next year when the Act will be enforced.
Family USA. A Summary of the, Health Reform Law. Web.
Rosenbaum, S. (2011). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: implications for public health policy and practice. Public Health Reports, 126(1), 130-135.
Williams, A. (2013). Why are we against the Affordable Care Act? New York Amsterdam News. Web.