Efforts aimed at improving the quality of healthcare services can be listed among the most important goals for the government. Possessing all the necessary resources that can be used in order to analyze the situation with healthcare in great detail, responsible parties claim to do their best to design new solutions for the field of activity. Despite that, it sometimes happens that the position of people initiating changes in healthcare practices is not supported by the entire community represented by healthcare providers and their clients.
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The Affordable Care Act or Obama Care can be listed among the most discussed healthcare initiatives in the world. In fact, numerous independent researchers state that the outcomes of its use in the United States are incompatible with the merits and advantages identified by the Obama Administration prior to its adoption.
The federal statute signed by Barack Obama more than seven years ago is still considered as one of the most important outcomes of his work even though the long-term consequences of the act are a controversial topic. The act was accepted by the Congress of the United States. Despite that, a few years after, it was confirmed that certain points developed within the frame of the document contradicted the United States Constitution.
Among the most important healthcare changes identified in the act, there is the decision to oblige all citizens of the United States to buy health insurance. At the same time, it was planned to provide Americans with low incomes with an opportunity to buy health insurance on special terms. Continuing on the topic of proclaimed purposes of the act, it was supposed to improve coverage conditions and quality of healthcare services for those citizens having health insurance.
According to the idea that was the bedrock of the act, it was planned to introduce a system of penalties for those citizens refusing to buy health insurance. Similarly, the penalties were supposed to motivate organizations refusing to help their employees to get health insurance. Continuing on the topic of assumed benefits, the range of measures to be implemented on the territory of the United States was expected to encourage the creation of jobs (What is ObamaCare? What is the Affordable Care Act? n.d.)
In reference to investments in healthcare, it was planned to implement a range of new financial charged for those citizens with high incomes and companies producing drugs. The combination of measures introducing new taxes, obligations for all citizens of the country, and strict control of the activity of insurance companies working with employers were supposed to significantly improve the situation for taxpayers all over the country. The authors of the administration bill believed that the act would help to reduce the budgetary gap, and this opinion was supported by a great number of specialists from the Bureau of the Budget of the United States Congress.
Speaking about the merits associated with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, it is important to note that it can have a positive influence on the health condition of uninsured people as the expansion of Medicaid and the introduction of new taxes has made healthcare more affordable (Sommers et al. 2015). In particular, health insurance becomes more affordable for social groups with low incomes. More than that, it is necessary to note that some of the points included in the activities aimed at protecting the right of citizens to be fairly treated, disregard the social group that they belong to. For instance, it is clear that people representing different ethnicities and genders are to be provided with a high-quality service in case if they get sick.
Importantly, certain studies confirm that the act has contributed to reducing racial disparities in healthcare (Chen et al. 2016). At the same time, the act intends to control the actions of employers and insurance organizations to prevent the cases when organizations refuse to provide their employees with health insurance. In addition, stricter control is very likely to eliminate the cases when companies increase insurance fees for those employees suffering from dangerous long-term diseases such as cancer.
The Affordable Care Act also states that insurance payments made by citizens should not depend on their gender, and it acts as merit, considering that gender inequality has not been estranged yet. The merits of the discussed act can also be illustrated by the fact that Obama Care has been able to reduce the costs of healthcare services. There is a range of measures aimed at reducing costs and spending, and the act is believed to have helped to slow down healthcare prices inflation in 2014 (Obama Care: 10 million strong and growing 2015).
The introduction of the individual health insurance mandates within the frame of the act is often regarded as the factor encouraging unintended consequences of proposed changes. For instance, when it comes to significant drawbacks of the act, the attention must be paid to the fact that individual mandate presents a requirement, urging people to buy services. To many people, the very idea of individual healthcare mandate seems to be a constitutional abuse.
Among other unwanted consequences of the Obama Care on the healthcare system and the society, there is the unwillingness of certain companies to hire new employees due to healthcare expenses that continued to grow again. Thus, the case of Aetna indicates that many companies are urged to reduce operation in certain states, and this fact is incompatible with the promises to improve healthcare quality (Luhby 2016). Nowadays, numerous companies lose large sums of money due to health insurance exchange encouraged by the reform. Due to that, insurance companies have to choose between two options: stop supporting the discussed reform and leave the market or makeup losses on their own.
To do that, they will be urged to increase prices for health insurance. Obviously, there will be negative consequences for common people living in the United States: as it follows from the act, they have to buy insurance plans to avoid paying the penalty. The quality of healthcare services does not seem to have increased since the adoption of the law. In fact, the implementation of Obama Care principles has not demonstrated a significant influence on morbidity and mortality associated with dangerous diseases affecting Americans. In particular, the number of patients in emergency departments is still high (Emergency department visits n.d.)
In the end, as it clear from the arguments presented by both supporters and critics of the act, Obama Care was supposed to provide numerous benefits to common citizens, but merits for certain groups exist just because of negative consequences for other groups. The introduction of individual mandate causes numerous problems for the American middle class as they do not get subsidies while prices for insurance are increasing.
The quality of health care services has not significantly improved yet even though there are some improvements for citizens with low incomes who are allowed to pay less for the services. In general, it is clear that the analysis of advantages and unwanted consequences of the Affordable Care Act has to be conducted with regard to social division and the outcomes for the particular group.
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Chen, J, Vargas-Bustamante, A, Mortensen, K & Ortega, 2016, ‘Racial and ethnic disparities in health care access and utilization under the Affordable Care Act,’ Medical Care, vol. 54, no. 2, p. 140.
Emergency department visits. n.d. Web.
Luhby, T 2016, Aetna to pull out of most Obamacare exchanges. Web.
Sommers, BD, Gunja, MZ, Finegold, K & Musco, T 2015, ‘Changes in self-reported insurance coverage, access to care, and health under the Affordable Care Act,’ Jama, vol. 314, no. 4, pp. 366-374.