The U.S. Health Care System

If there is one thing that most Americans are in agreement with, it is the vile shape of our U. S. health care system. There is no argument that the U. S. health care system is in need of an overhaul, however, there is much debate over just how to effectively go about the process. The public have voiced greatest concern in the health care areas of costs, quality and access.

Many presidents have pondered the idea of health care reform; a few even made attempts to start the ball rolling. The first baby steps with the daunting task of health care reform were made on March 23, 2010, when President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Though some of the provisions and requirements are in force, many are set to be phased in over the next ten years.

The PPACA is groundbreaking as it addresses consumer protections, the crucial role of employer-provided insurance coverage and government’s role in providing health care access for the most vulnerable populations (Sultz ; Young, 2011). The purpose of the P. P. A. C. A. of 2010 is to provide affordable health insurance to all Americans, improve access to primary care, improve the quality care through preventative care and maintenance, and reduce the growth in health care spending, in turn, reducing the federal deficit.

A more in depth look at some of what the P. P. A. C. A. entails will be discussed along with pros and cons of the issues addressed. Whether applauded by those in support or attacked by those who opposition, the P. P. A. C. A. certainly is not the answer to all of our health care challenges, but, overall it is a positive effort and a start towards what will take a very long time to fully accomplish.

The History Of The Law The enactment of the P. P. A. C. A. was the result of several influences, all of which contributed to the excessive costs associated with the health care today. The Social Security Act of 1935, the Medicare and Medicaid programs, direct-aid to schools, government’s increased support of biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health, advancements in technology, and insurance companies inflationary effect were all contributors to health care’s sky-rocketing costs.

Furthermore, with no effective controls over expenditures, the planners of the Medicare legislation made several misjudgments; they underestimated the growing number of older adults in the United States, the scope and burgeoning costs of the technologic revolution, and the public’s rising expectations for the latest in every diagnostic and treatment modality (Sultz & Young, 2011). These influences played a major role in the U. S. health care costs now exceeding $2 trillion and consuming about 17% of the gross national product. The P. P. A. C. A. was established due to all these circumstances and more.

Description Of The Law The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P. P. A. C. A. ), often referred to as federal health care reform, or “ObamaCare” is legislation that will change how millions of Americans access health care coverage. The scope of the P. P. A. C. A. is so extensive that it will be years before all of its provisions will be fully implemented and its effects fully understood. Furthermore, the federal government will publicize regulations over the next few years that will clarify P. P. A. C. A. and give more detailed guidance on how many of its provisions are to be implemented.

The following are some of the key facts of the P. P. A. C. A. First, it establishes stronger consumer rights and protection by putting an end to pre-existing condition discrimination, limits on care, and coverage cancellations. These provisions will aid in protecting against being taken advantage of by insurance companies. Second, the P. P. A. C. A. makes coverage more affordable by establishing the 80/20 rule for insurance companies. This rule means that if at least 80% of your premium dollar must be spent according to the rule guidelines, if not, then a refund must be issued to you. Furthermore, the law stops unreasonable rate increases and lowers costs by offering small business tax credits.

These provisions are intended to bring down healthcare costs and make sure that your health care dollars are spent wisely (HealthCare. gov). Next, the P. P. A. C. A. provides better access to care by providing more health care choices. Better access to care will be accomplished through free preventative benefits, coverage for young adults, coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and affordable insurance exchanges, which are “one-stop marketplaces where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan that fits their health needs” (HealthCare. ov). Last, the P. P. A. C. A. aims to strengthen Medicare with the addition of new benefits, attacking fraud, and improving care. The law will achieve results through lowering the cost of prescription drugs, free preventative services, fighting fraud, improving care coordination and quality, and providing choices while lowering costs (HealthCare. gov). Media Reports On The P. P. A. C. A. Certainly, a perfect, quick fix does not exist to rescue a system as broken as the U. S. health care system. However, most Americans would agree reform is mandatory.

Unfortunately, any effort to reform the U. S. health care system inevitably will be greeted with support and opposition. The media has reported proponents of the health care legislation have called the P. P. A. C. A. a “historic victory” and “landmark legislation” that reforms the US health care system by reigning in health care costs, making health care affordable and protecting consumers from unfair insurance practices. They say the law will reduce the nation’s deficit by more than $100 billion by 2020 and by $1 trillion by 2030 (ProCon. org).

Whereas, opponents have called the law a “socialist” and “unconstitutional” government takeover of the health care system that will increase the cost of health care and decrease the quality (ProCon. org). They say the law will cost more than $2. 5 trillion over 10 years and drive the US deeper into debt. Several congressional representatives and special interest groups have initiated attempts to repeal HR 3590. Personal Reaction To The P. P. A. C. A. : In My Opinion While there is no denying that our broken health care system is in dire need of an overhaul, it is uncertain if the P. P. A. C. A. s capable of accomplishing such a task.

The bottom line is that we need reform and though the P. P. A. C. A. has its pros and cons, it is a start in the right direction. The fact that the law will provide coverage to millions of Americans currently uninsured is fantastic. In addition, increasing payments for Medicaid equal to that of Medicare payments is great. However, what will the result of adding millions more to the Medicaid system help when it is close to impossible to find a primary care physician already? Also, the provision of free preventative care with no deductible or co-pay is wonderful.

The emphasis on preventative care is essential to avoid the costs associated with chronic illnesses and diseases. But, we must do something to ensure there are enough new and participating primary care physicians to provide quality care for this part of the P. P. A. C. A. to work. The fact is, we can if, and, but, agree, and disagree ourselves to death in regards to the P. P. A. C. A. ; it is an effort, a beginning, a start in the right direction to change something that we all agree needs some serious changing. Expected Effect Of The Law: In My Opinion

In a perfect world, one would expect the effect of the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act to be to resolve all issues and concerns of health care costs, quality, and access. However, realistically, because the law is so broad with provisions to be implemented at different times over an extended period of time, the expected effects are hard to determine. There are provisions, such as, insuring the uninsured and free preventative care, as well as, taking the power away from insurance providers, that potentially can have a positive effect on cost savings.

On the other hand, if the number of primary care physicians does not increase, the influx of millions of more people into the health care system could prove to be disastrous. Moreover, it is not crystal clear on what to expect because there are too many debatable or questionable areas that could result in different outcomes. At this stage in the game, whether it is because of the ousting of pre-existing conditions, the increase in age for a dependent child, the bursting of the insurance companies bubble, or the upcoming eligibility changes for Medicaid, one thing for sure can be expected- the number of insured Americans is going to skyrocket.

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