The Affordable care Act was assented into law in 2010 with a view of increasing accessibility to quality healthcare services by the American citizens. The Act was sponsored by President Barrack Obama to deal with the rising healthcare needs against the backdrop of the rising cost of health. Under the Act, every citizen is required to subscribe to a health insurance plan and it imposes penalties for the defaulters. Since its enactment, the number of the insured individuals has grown tremendously increasing the healthcare access by the citizens. This paper seeks to support the viability of the Act in the improvement of the healthcare services in the US. In the achievement of the stated goal, the paper shall explore the benefits that accrue from the enactment of the legislation.
The Affordable Care Act was enacted by the Congress in 2010 and assented into law by President Obama in the same year. The enactment of the Act by the Congress sparked numerous court battles between its sponsors and the citizens who termed it as unconstitutional. One of the controversial provisions that sparked opposition is the requirement that every American citizen acquires a medical insurance policy with a fine of $695 being levied on the defaulters (Tate, 2012). The provision was termed unconstitutional by the skeptics of the Act, who challenged the law in court. The skeptics further argued that the subsidization of health care would mean increased cost of health thus increasing the country’s debts. However, the Act received a major boost when the Supreme Court ruled that the Act was unconstitutional, but it was in line with the powers of the Congress to formulate policies relating to the country’s taxation. This paper shall focus on the strengths of the Act to substantiate the author’s decision to support the Act.
Benefits of the Affordable care Act
The Act in its totality increases the affordability of the insurance plans to the citizens. Firstly, the insurance plans are subsidized to allow the low-income earners to subscribe to the plans of their choice. Additionally, it establishes comprehensive insurance plans that allow the coverage of all the family members under a single policy. Oberlander (2012) claims that one of the surest ways of cutting down the cost of insurance policies is to establish healthcare insurance policies that will allow the coverage of the entire family under a single. Covering each member of a family under his/her policy is costly as opposed to a comprehensive plan for the entire family. The Affordable care Act extends the age limit for the children covered under the parent’s insurance plan. The Act pushes the age to 26 years where adults below the stated age can still be covered under the parents’ insurance plan. The extension of the age limit is a sure way of reducing the annual costs incurred by a family in securing a medical insurance plan. Moreover, it increases the probability of the insurance cover being utilized due to the high number of individuals covered under a single plan. The extension of the age limit has facilitated the acquisition of an insurance cover by young adults. Statistics indicates that an additional 2.5 million young adults have gained coverage since 2010 (Xu, Dowd, & Abraham, 2015).
The other strength of the Act is that it enables the coverage of the outpatient services. The outpatient services in this context refer to patients whose illnesses do not necessitate their admission to the hospital. Before the enactment of the Act, patients not admitted to the hospital could pay their medical bills out their pockets regardless of whether they had subscribed to a medical insurance cover (Goldberg, 2010). The incorporation of the outpatient services in the insurance plans ensures that patients get access to costly drugs increasing the quality of health for the citizens. The Act eliminates all the preventative care expenses for the clients. It facilitates patients’ access to preventative treatment such as breast cancer screenings and prostate exams for the low-income earners in the US. Since its enactment, the Act has facilitated patients’ access to cancer screening and other forms of preventative care cost-free. Given that most patients are rarely admitted to hospitals, the provision is a major strength of the provision of healthcare services to the citizens.
The other advantage of the Act is that it facilitates the coverage of patients suffering from chronic illnesses. The law requires that the insurance companies enroll every citizen to the health insurance plans regardless of their previous health condition history (Xu et al., 2015). In the past, the insurance companies discriminated the citizens on grounds of their poor health conditions. Some of the diseases that were deemed serious included cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses that are deemed expensive to treat. The insurance firms denied patients suffering from the mentioned illnesses coverage due to the huge amounts of money involved in their treatment. In that regard, the enactment of the law meant that such citizens would have access to medical insurance covers notwithstanding their previous health records. The increased accessibility of healthcare insurance policies to the mentioned group is a great improvement to the insurance sector.
The legislation also provides for the abolishment of the preconditions imposed by the health insurance companies in the renewal of the insurance plans. Before the enactment of the Act, the health insurance firms assessed the health conditions of the applicant before allowing him/her to renew the insurance contract. If the patient’s medical history indicated the acquisition of a serious disease in the period of the contract, the patient was denied the right to renew the contract (Tate, 2012). The removal of such conditions by the Act was a great relieve to patients suffering from the various chronic illnesses. Under the Act, every citizen is required to subscribe to a medical insurance cover and it imposes fines for the defaulters. Given that the insurance plans are currently subsidized, the compulsory acquisition of the insurance plans is justifiable. The number of people covered by the medical insurance plans has grown tremendously since the enactment of the Act in the year 2010. The acquisition of insurance policies has increased the quality of care, and it has increased accessibility to quality healthcare services.
Another benefit that comes with the enactment of the Bill is that the older people now have access to insurance covers that were previously denied. Old age is attributed to various diseases, and the insurance companies have been reluctant in enrolling the groups owing to the risks associated with old age (Oberlander, 2012). One of the strategies aimed at managing the global aging is to ensure that they have access to quality healthcare to reduce the mortality rates. The Act considers this goal by providing that all the health insurance companies disregard age as a precondition to the subscription to the insurance policies. In that regard, the aged people in the society do not have to save for their health as they can now access insurance covers. Also considered are the children born with health complications. Previously, the insurance firms excluded children born with various defects from the various plans. In that regard, the parents of the affected children had to incur huge out of pocket medical expenses to have their children treated in the various hospitals. The act prohibits all the health insurance sector firms from discriminating children based on such deformities.
Lastly, the requirement that all the citizens acquire an insurance cover increases the health fund collections due to the increased contribution from the added policyholders. The increase in the health funds facilitates the provision of quality healthcare to all the entire population. Additionally, it allows the spread of risk by the insurance companies due to the high number of individuals covered. The increased collections are set to reduce the country’s healthcare costs by $143 billion annually over the next ten years (Goldberg, 2010). America has been battling with the rising cost of health hence the Act may be a solution to the rising cost of health.
The Affordable care Act is a controversial legislation passed and assented into law by the president in the year 2010. The Act subsidizes the health insurance policies to increase the accessibility to the health insurance for the American citizens. The small employers benefit from tax credits availed by the Act upon payment of the employees’ insurance premiums. The tax credits lower the operations cost for such businesses due to the reduced cost of insurance. The Act facilitates the acquisition of the insurance policies by the elderly population and the patients suffering from chronic illnesses. Previously, such groups were denied coverage by the insurance firms on grounds that their policies were unprofitable. Lastly, the Act introduces comprehensive insurance plans that facilitate the coverage of the entire family through a single plan. Children aged below 26 years can now be covered under their parents’ policies.
Goldberg, J. (2010). The Reality of Obamacare. National Review Online, 24(3), 21-27.
Oberlander, J. (2012). The future of Obamacare. New England Journal of Medicine, 367(23), 2165-2167.
Tate, J. (2012). Obamacare Survival Guide: The Affordable Care Act and What it means for you and Your Healthcare. Boca Raton, FL: Humanix Books.
Xu, Y., Dowd, B., & Abraham, J. (2015). Lessons from state mandates of preventive cancer screenings. The European Journal of Health Economics, 6(4), 1-13.