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Does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provide health care insurance to every individual living in the United States?

Does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provide health care insurance to everyone living in the United States?

Does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provide health care insurance to everyone in the United States? Healthcare has always been considered one of the fundamental pillars of any country. It is well acknowledged that people’s health is an essential determinant of the economy’s health, especially considering that only healthy individuals can generate wealth. In recent times, the United States government has made numerous legislations that have changed the healthcare sector, the most fundamental of which is the Affordable Care Act. Popularly known as “Obamacare”,” the Affordable Care Act is considered the most sweeping and reformative legislation since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. It is aimed at giving all Americans the capacity to obtain medical coverage at an affordable rate. While there may be differing opinions about the utility of the Affordable Care Act, the law benefits the country.

First, the legislation would allow for increased health insurance coverage in the country. Research shows that currently, about 32 million Americans are yet to be under health insurance coverage (Hill, (2011). This piece of legislation will allow these people to be covered at least by 2014, when the bill comes entirely into force. This includes the 3.1 million Americans aged between 19 and 25 under their parents’ plans since they cannot afford to pay for them (Tate, 2012). In addition, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny individuals with preexisting conditions insurance coverage or even drop plan members when they become sick (Hill, (2011). For many years, applicants for health insurance in the Family or Individual market were required to complete an application and pass the approval of the underwriting guidelines. This was frustrating to individuals whose applications declined or whose premiums increased simply because of preexisting health conditions (Tate, 2012). In essence, the Affordable Care Act comes as a relief to these people, as well as for individuals who are unable to afford their health insurance, as they will be added to the Medicaid program in the states, with the federal government paying for the conditions for the addition (Tate, 2012).

On the same note, the bill comes as highly beneficial to low-middle-income families and individuals. Scholars note that the Medicaid programs will be expanded to cover individuals in the low-income brackets (Pipes, 2010). It is worth noting that individuals with low incomes will obtain subsidies from the United States government, catering for up to 100% of the monthly premiums (McCaughey, 2012). In addition, grants will be availed up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The contributions are determined based on the family’s annual income and the total number of dependants in that family. This ensures that individuals in the low-middle income bracket can access healthcare services if and when needed, which greatly enhances the country’s health (McCaughey, 2012).

In addition, the Affordable Care Act reduces healthcare costs (Murdock, 2012). The Congressional Budget Office noted that there would be a reduction in the country’s healthcare costs, especially considering that the Act ensures that 95% of Americans obtain health insurance, which would increase the accessibility of preventative healthcare (McCaughey, 2012). It is noted that newly insured individuals will not be waiting until their health problems become extreme to become an emergency, which is a relatively costly avenue (Murdock, 2012).

In addition, the Affordable Care Act would reduce the budget gaps or deficits in the country (Tate, 2012). It is estimated that by 2019, the Affordable Care Act would lower the deficit in the national budget by about $143 billion, thanks to the Act’s associated fees and taxes (McCaughey, 2012). On the same note, the Congressional Budget Office opines that, by 2020, the Act would eliminate the Medicare “donut hole” gap in its coverage. The donut hole is essentially a temporary limit on the things that the drug plan covers for drugs (Boehner, 2011). Once a beneficiary of Medicare has exited the initial coverage of the prescription drug plan, they would be financially responsible for a considerably higher cost of the prescription drugs up to the time when they attain the catastrophic coverage threshold (Tate, 2012). However, the bill will eliminate this gap, reducing the amount that a beneficiary uses out of pocket for his medication.

However, the legislation has faced opposition, especially from the business community. Businesses with more than 50% full-time employees must pay for healthcare insurance for their workers (Boehner, 2011). Companies may the extra costs to consumers or reduce their full-time workers to fit in the less-than-50 full-time-employees bracket (Atlas, 2012). On the same note, the ideal functioning of the program requires everyone to buy an insurance policy, failure to which he will have to pay “penalty income tax” (Atlas, 2012). While this may be considered a con, it greatly enhances the nation’s health in general.

In conclusion, the Affordable Care Act has been arguably the most radical program since 1965. It is highly beneficial to the nation as it reduces the cost of insurance, increases coverage, and eliminates the “donut hole” in the Medicare program. In addition, it reduces the budget gap thanks to the savings in healthcare costs, fees, and taxes from the Act.

 

References

Tate, N. J. (2012). ObamaCare survival guide. West Palm Beach, FL: Humanix Books.

Murdock, K (2012). Affordable Care Act: ObamaCare. New York: GRIN Verlag

Hill, J.W (2011). Obamacare – What’s In It. New York: Primedia E-launch LLC

Pipes, S. (2010). The truth about Obamacare. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub.

McCaughey, B (2012). Decoding the Obama Health Law: What You Need to Know. New York: Paperless Publishing LLC

Atlas, S. W. (2012). Reforming America’s Health Care System: The Flawed Vision of ObamaCare. New York: Hoover Press

Boehner, J (2011). Obamacare: A Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health Care Law. New York: DIANE Publishing

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