Healthcare in the United States is still relatively new to us and is one of the most debated topics in our government. Many presidents have tried to get Healthcare reform in the past, however one President that finally got a law passed on it, was former President Barack Obama. In October of 2009 The Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obama Care was introduced to us. In less than a year, he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law in an effort to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Americans. However, it caused major controversy amongst our country with some heavily approving of the act while others rejected it, and wanted it repealed immediately. The act which is still in effect today is subject to going under many reforms as our current President Trump and many others are trying to get it repealed. The Affordable Healthcare Act was just the beginning at trying to get the United States healthcare system to where it needs to be.
As mentioned previously, healthcare in the United States began less than 200 years ago, making it fairly new to us. It began in the 1880’s with private insurers making “industrial sickness funds” for people who were hurt or sick and were unable to work. Other foreign countries around us began their own forms of governmental provided healthcare and so the United States sought to follow in their footsteps. In the 1930’s Franklin D. Roosevelt passed the Social Security Act which was one of the first major government provided pay for those unable to work (Our Documents 2018). By the mid 1960’s Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law by former President Lyndon B. Johnson which provided assistance and subsidized healthcare to the elderly or low income families (Koba 2014). Presidents since then have attempted at getting healthcare reform, however private insurance companies were scared of the government overstepping and negatively affecting their business. When President Obama was elected, healthcare was one of his top priorities, and so came the Affordable Care Act. It had a plethora of goals but its top three were to reduce the overall cost of healthcare, to make it more accessible to people and to expand the Medicaid program. The ACA also created a healthcare market place where people could go to shop for coverage plans (Goldstein 2017). The Act had 10 minimum standards which was required of insurers to meet and also halted them from charging people with pre-existing conditions more. President Obama also required people to pay an annual penalty ax at the end of the year, if they were still uninsured starting in 2014. If you are already insured, say with your employer, then your children are also eligible to stay under your coverage until they are 26 years of age. The problems that have risen due to the act being placed 8 years ago, is the fact that our country is still spending over 17% of our GDP on healthcare. That is more than most countries who typically spend less than 10% and get universal healthcare. Our country is spending the same if not more, and not getting anything more in return.
Obamacare has insured over twenty million plus people since being enacted. Some argue that while this is a good thing, the premiums, deductibles, and copays that come with being insured have increased drastically. Many people who used to be insured, aren’t anymore, due to their employer agreeing to pay the penalty rather than insure their employees. Many companies also weren’t happy with all the requirements that had to be met under the new law. The 10 essentials that are required of them is: “ambulatory patient services (outpatient services), emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services (those that help patients acquire, maintain, or improve skills necessary for daily functioning) and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management, and pediatric services, including oral and vision care” ( Families USA, 27 Apr. 2018). This covered a lot more than before, and created an equilibrium for all people to get the care they need. However, the overall health of Americans keep declining while the cost of healthcare is inclining. Our country’s biggest problems are that of obesity and diabetes. As this trend keeps growing larger, the Affordable Care Act attempted to place preventative measures to decrease the cost of medical expenses in the long run. Take the United Kingdom’s healthcare into consideration. They are said to have one of the top healthcare systems in the world. Basically everyone is covered, they spend way less per year on healthcare, and their life expectancy is almost 20 years more than us Americans. How is it that they spend less but have better outcomes? Well compared to our system, patients who require ambulance or air lift is at no cost to them. An ambulance ride in America easily reaches into the thousands. By getting more people covered and paying for insurance, Obama had the right idea that it could possibly lower the overall costs. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case.
With this ongoing dilemma of whether or not to keep or repeal Obamacare, there are three ways our government could go about handling this issue. The first and most radical change could be to throw away all the laws and regulations and make healthcare a free marketplace (Serrao 2017). So in other words, if you were to fall and break a bone and go to the hospital, you must be able to afford it otherwise you cannot be treated. It’s a painfully reasonable way to go about it, however some might see it as unethical. On the other hand, it would drastically decrease our country’s spending on healthcare and decrease tax dollars that go towards it. The second option would be to insure more people make healthcare even cheaper and more affordable for everyone, but in this situation, tax dollars would increase in order to fund this. The third and final option, could be to add on to the Affordable Care Act. The guidelines it follows insure that everyone gets at minimum decent coverage. It has gotten so much backlash because now it requires people to get covered. Before people had the decision to get covered or not. This left a large margin of error due to the fact that we humans are not invincible. Say you got in a car crash, or a virus illness, and now you, an uninsured American, will have to go to the doctor and cannot afford it. You have no deductible and percentage covered. You now cannot pay back the hospital that treated you and it leaves them out of money and you in major debt. This is one of the main reasons why the Affordable Care Act was put in place; to prevent people from getting into accidents that they couldn’t cover.
In conclusion, the Affordable Care Act was one of the first major vamps to our healthcare system. Its’ goals were reasonable and was pretty well thought out. There is no perfect system to healthcare, because the money to fund for people has to come from somewhere. The goal was to get everyone insured and Obama got over twenty million people who previously weren’t insured to get it, but of course there are still some who opt out and pay the penalty tax. It is not perfect but there is no way to get the perfect coverage for everyone. However, we can work with what we have now. Instead of Republicans wanting to just get rid of the whole policy with no back up plan, we could amend what we already have.