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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Essay

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2019

Maggie Fox writing for NBC News wrote that, if health care was banking it would take days to withdraw money from an ATM because records would be misplaced and if it were airline pilots would have to depend on their own intuitions to dictate which safety checks to carry out (Fox, 2012).

Well, not too harsh an assessment considering the mess that currently bedevils our health care system. As a matter of fact, the rain has not just started beating us now; the US health care system was declared broken and requiring fixing more than a decade ago.

This underscores the recent spate of actions in terms of policy legislation that we are still yet to all agree on. That aside, there are serious issues with our health care system.

Issues of priority such as access in terms of the uninsured, quality and cost in that order are the three most important things in a health care system (Nyman, 2003). I will highlight and discuss in detail each of the three in this paper.

It is quite unfortunate that in the US the most developed economy in the world today access to health care is right now an issue yet to be addressed fully.

Most recent statistics indicate that close to 40 million Americans in this day and era are uninsured and still have to struggle to meet their health care requirements (Squires, 2012).

A few critics would argue that insurance and access cannot be taken as one since the uninsured could still walk into any health care facility and get medical attention at their own cost. However, this would be the narrowest thinking to look at this issue.

With the ever escalating costs, upsurge of chronic diseases requiring complex and costly medical routines to prevent and cure, one can never go wrong in arguing that health insurance is an essential part of care access.

Any sound and viable plan for the future to fix our health care system therefore must arise to this fact and promise to offer universal coverage that guarantees every American citizen right to basic health plan of their choice.

Secondly, quality is an important aspect of a sound health care system. According to OECD health data database 2011, despite high health care costs and spending as well quality indicators of health in the US reflect variable performance and notably not any superior in comparison with other far less expensive systems of other countries in the study (Squires, 2012).

Even though the US is notably rated among the best countries with the highest survival rates for certain chronic ailments in some other chronic diseases the same trend is not consistent with poor showing and in some instances below average performance.

Given that in some of these chronic conditions that the US records a poor showing make up and indeed constitute an increasing share of the disease burden casts doubts as to the quality of care accorded by our current system.

Thirdly but not least is the cost of health care. With nearly $8,000 average spending on health per capita according to statistics carried out in 2009, the cost of health care in the US is arguably the most expensive in the world (Squires, 2012).

This is in comparison with countries such as Japan and New Zealand spending one-third of that and Switzerland and Norway that spends about two-thirds of same. In fact if the trend is anything to go by, the US average per capita spending on health care continue to grow highest than any other economy (Squires, 2012).

We need a health care system that can address these both in terms of reversing the unsustainable trend of escalating health associated costs and also reduce the current recorded spending on health care.

It is important to note the Affordable Care Act of 2010 cognizant of each of the three major issues highlighted above was designed with specific attention to address them.

Firstly with respect to access, the Act proposes universal health insurance coverage for all that would guarantee every citizen to a basic health plan of their choice effectively doing away with previously income-related payments that uninsured would have received.

In addition, the ACA envisages an electronic medical record to store patients’ records and allows physicians via a tight security protocols this information effectively simplifying the health care system that hitherto preapproval requirement by authorities to gain access to this information.

This measure also addresses the issue of quality of health care as both the physician and the patient can be able to trend the medical history. Effectively patients would be able to demand quality care and physicians afraid to taint their careers offer better services.

Having addressed both access and quality the issue of cost comes in automatically through improved system efficiencies and use of preventive rather than curative measures (Santerre & Neun, 2013).

In conclusion it will be interesting to see how the plan works given it will be difficult to eliminate the unnecessary services currently offered which compounds the cost of health care as well as the huge administrative challenges.

On the downside, the plan as some critics point out are the unintended consequences in terms of tax burden which not until the current costs are brought down is a concern to many.

On the upward side though, is an ambitious plan which if it works could lift up the welfare of all Americans and be a major reprieve of our ailing health care system.

References

Fox, M. (2012). . Web.

Nyman, J. A. (2003). The Theory of Demand for Health Insurance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Santerre, R. E. and Neun, S. P. (2013). Health Economics: Theories, Insights, and Industry Studies, 6th Edition, Mason, OH: South-Western.

Squires, D. A. (2012). Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality. Commonwealth Fund pub. 1595, Vol. 10.

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