Health care reform has been a bone of contention for decades in the United States. Democrats claim that Obama’s Socialist Health Care Plan is a remarkable event in the history of the United States. However, Republicans and other naysayers think that the health insurance package involves several drawbacks. The President wants to ensure affordable, high quality coverage to all Americans; and as he believes, this is possible only by enhancing insurance competition between the public insurance program and private insurance firms. The logic is that competition would force private insurance companies to reduce their premium rates in order to be on par with the subsidized rates of public insurance. However, the opponents of the plan still maintain that the reform will have adverse effect on the nation’s socio-economic stature.
The Obamacare is not much beneficial for patients because it notably limits patient choices. It seems that this healthcare plan inflicts unwanted choices on patients, and hence people are forced to spend additionally. Under the Obamacare, health plans are required to cover all preventive services rated A or B by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. In addition, this policy does not permit health plans to share the costs of these preventive services with policyholders. As a result, the audience of Obama’s plan is forced to pay for this particular coverage through additional premiums. This extra spending implies that some patients cannot gain the health coverage they actually need. As health policy expert Scott Gottlieb (2012) points out, “many services that get ‘Cs’ or ‘Ds’ – such as screening for ovarian or testicular cancer – could get nixed from coverage entirely”. Similarly, the Obamacare insists women to pay higher for additional preventive care coverage, and consequently women are restricted to choose health plans that would best suit their actual needs and their values. As Messmore (2012) points out, due to these health provisions, American women are compelled to spend additionally for products such as the full range of contraceptives including abortifacient drugs.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created under the Obamacare often hurt patients’ freedom. IPAB, comprising of unelected bureaucrats, is authorized to develop and implement strategies to keep Medicare spending rates affordable. The board is mainly required to deal with changing provider payment rates. Although the actual intention of the board is to offer affordable services to patients, restrictions on reimbursement often make it difficult for providers to continue to deliver quality services to Medicare patients. By statute, the IPAB is also authorized to improve patients’ access to necessary and evidence-based care. However, this provision is often misused to restrict patients’ access to health services that the government does not consider necessary or evidence-base.
Obama’s health plan has also developed a Medicare value-based purchasing program to pay hospitals based on their performance in accordance with federal quality measures. This model has not been proven effective yet, and evidences suggest that this program may discourage providers to pay attention to high quality, personalized care. More clearly, the Medicare value-based purchasing program would encourage health providers to focus more on financially rewarding care than on the actual healthcare needs of individuals. Reports indicate that this situation may sometimes result in ineffective or even harmful care.
Similarly, Obama’s Socialist Health Care Plan creates a range of problems for healthcare providers too. Some recent reports indicate that the Obamacare imposes huge financial burden on physicians. Initially The Affordable Care Act set a 90-day grace period to protect the interests of patients who fall behind on premiums. Before this grace period, insurers could not drop patients. Hence patients had three months of time to settle their bills before their policy was cancelled. Malkin (2013) states that the situation changed when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to make insurers “responsible only for paying claims during the first 30 days of the debtors’ grace period”. As a result of this policy change, health providers are now on the hook for the other two months. That means if clients refuse to make payments, it becomes the responsibility of hospitals and physicians to collect the money. The Missouri Hospital Association claimed that the regulatory policy shift “unduly burdens physicians, hospitals, and other health-care providers” (as cited in Malkin). Many other hospital and other healthcare organizations have already raised red flags over this issue stating that it would adversely affect the physician-patient relationship, which in turn may compromise the quality of the care.
Similarly, frequently changing health policies greatly trouble providers and often cause them to incur financial losses and to compromise quality of the services delivered. To illustrate, as Rubin (2013) reports, recently the Federal government announced a cut of 3.55 percent in Medicare Advantage. As part of regulating healthcare expenses, the government imposes stricter restrictions on insurers and as a result they are forced to cheapen provider networks and benefits. Experts anticipate that the government would announce more cuts to private Medicare plans and more doctors would be fired.
Another weakness of the Obamacare is that it does not really protect the interests of doctors. On the strength of The Affordable Care Act, patients unnecessarily use ER and emergency room facilities and this situation in turn causes serious troubles to doctors. According to a study published in the prestigious journal Science (as cited in Siegel, 2014), the probability of using the emergency room by new Medicaid patients in Oregon was 40% more than the case of uninsured. Doctors do not like to be available for Medicaid because it pays them poorly. Statistical data indicate that only 67% of primary care doctors and half of all specialists accept Medicaid.
In total, Obama’s health plan has deteriorated the already weak US healthcare industry. Doctors are compelled to work for a cheap remuneration under the Obama’s plan and this issue is identified as one of the major causes leading to medical negligence. When it comes to patients’ side, negative impacts of the health plan outweigh its benefits in several aspects.
Graham, J. R. (2012). Obamacare's Medical-Device Tax Kills Patients, Not Just Jobs. Forbes, 6 June. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/06/06/obamacares-medical-device-tax-kills-patients-not-just-jobs/
Gottlieb, S. (2012). Meet the ObamaCare Mandate Committee. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204795304577220950656734864?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052970204795304577220950656734864.html
Messmore, B. (2012). Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Civil Society: What the Debate Is Really About. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/04/obamacare-religious-liberty-and-civil-society-what-the-debate-is-really-about
Malkin, M. (2013). Obamacare Dumps Unpaid Bills on Providers. National Review Online, Dec 6. Retrieve from http://www.nationalreview.com/article/365642/obamacare-dumps-unpaid-bills-providers-michelle-malkin
Rubin, J. (2013). Obamacare’s bad news multiplies. The Washington Post, Feb 25. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/02/25/obamacares-bad-news-multiplies/
Siegel, M. (2014). How Obamacare will hurt doctors? NY Daily News, Jan 16. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obamacare-hurt-doctors-article-1.1581220