Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the public policy that regulates the health care providence in the United States for the last decade. It became crucial for insurance coverage and gave the option to receive basic medical treatment for many citizens who could not afford it before (Corman & Levin, 2016). People eligible for applying to ACA’s programs were able to improve their life quality, increase income, and become more valuable taxpayers. However, the question of replacement of the Act appeared during the President Trump administration, and it can cause multiple issues in sectors like healthcare, employment, and insurance.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, the supply and demand will be severely affected due to the abolition of required insurance coverage for big companies’ employees. Many people will be no longer capable of paying for health care facilities, therefore the necessity of the medical workforce will decrease, leading to the growing unemployment rates nationwide (Caswell & Waidmann, 2017). Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly damaged the economy and raised the importance of health and safety. The absence of the Act will force people to cut their costs and consequently lower the demand for non-essential goods (Caswell & Waidmann, 2017). Inability to receive appropriate aid combined with the economic instability can lead the country to political protests and issues. Policy solutions will be required to implement to help maintain health care accessibility, at least during the post-pandemic crisis.
The first decision that can help maintain stability in the healthcare sector is to reduce federal healthcare subsidies. The approach will allow supporting necessary healthcare insurance costs, and the financing would be generated by increasing taxes on benefits or updating the eligibility age. The second solution can be applied to businesses: require organizations that receive governmental support to provide each employee with at least half of basic insurance coverage costs. Each employee who utilized the Affordable Care Act would receive financial aid for healthcare from a company. The third policy decision might be to set the criteria for citizens in conditions of lowest income or highest need in treatment, which will still receive help similar to ACA’s. It would help each state assess the demand for the implementation of new governmental healthcare programs. Policies that comply with such solutions can help maintain healthcare accessibility during the economic crises and provide time for regions to work on the convenient replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
Successful Healthcare Policy Solutions
Some states have already implemented policy solutions that support ACA, and will provide support if the Act is repealed. For example, Californian policies require employers to provide at least individual insurance, and the healthcare costs are being deducted from taxes or paid to workers at more than 60% of the state’s companies (California Health Care Foundation [CHCF], 2019). The policy was established after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. However, the companies would still be required to provide financing for care, therefore the solution works. Besides, the legislation allows employees to receive special financial support due to the COVID-19 pandemic from the subsidies the government provided companies with to reduce the risk of losing jobs. There are no particular economic mechanisms applied to manage the problem of getting financial support for Californian companies’ employees, yet it makes the latter more attractive to new workers, and increases the efficiency of labor.
Another successful policy update is related to the Medicare and Medicaid Services – Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (2020) state that “it is a program that encourages hospitals to improve care coordination to better engage patients in discharge plans and reduce avoidable readmissions” (para. 1). The policy allowed to determine the necessity to provide the paid help, calculate it with the insurance, optimize the costs on equipment and employees for hospitals (CMS, 2020). The legislation helps to assess and set the proportion of patients eligible for receiving care at particular facilities. Moreover, data gathered from hospitals’ reports and penalty rates can regulate the demand in the medical workforce and help avoid unemployment in this segment. The economic mechanism based on the penalty calculation and charging allow the government to receive finances to apply for health regulation and improvement of other similar programs.
The severe consequences of the Affordable Care Act’s repeal are related to the growth of nationwide unemployment, decrease in the insurance demand, and the health risks for low-income citizens. However, policy updates can eliminate the outcomes by making regulative measures for sectors like business, healthcare, and the economy. Reducing federal subsidies, establishing laws to control the insurance coverage for businesses, and setting state-based criteria for determining who needs the support are the appropriate decisions. They can be set as policies in the states with the lowest income levels or where the large businesses provide most of the jobs. Similar policies have already been implemented in California and as updates to the nationwide Medicare and Medicaid programs. These regulations not only helped solve the healthcare insurance coverage problem, but also enforce the economy.
California Health Care Foundation. (2019). California employer health benefits.
Caswell, K. J., & Waidmann, T. A. (2017). The Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansions and personal finance. Medical Care Research and Review, 76(5), 538–571.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2020). Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.
Corman, J., & Levin, D. (2016). Support for government provision of health care and the patient protection and Affordable Care Act. Public Opinion Quarterly, 80(1), 114-179.