Healthcare in the United States over the last few decades has been in need of relevant, practical and effective reforms. The disparities between the wealthy insured and the poor uninsured, dependent on government provided healthcare, only continued to get wider and wider. Millions of Americans were unable to afford healthcare insurance of their own, are not offered insurance via an employer and many were unable to be accepted by insurance companies if the already had been diagnosed with a, costly, preexisting conditions. There is no doubt that change was called for. When President Barack Obama won the officer in 2008, one of his platform goals was to improve and implement a new healthcare reform, called the Affordable Care Act, also called both famously and infamously as Obamacare. The intention was to socialize medicine with a new government funded and provided healthcare insurance that was more feasible, accessible and affordable for all Americans. From the moment the Act came into effect in March of 2010, it was encouraged by the Democratic Party and highly opposed by Republicans; the same divide was forming between the citizens of the United States (Gruber 2).One believes that the Act is incredibly cost effective and benefits the people, others feel that it is too costly and places inappropriate need on those who can afford insurance to subsidize those that cannot. As of just last month, the Supreme Court rule in favor of the Affordable Care Act and it has now, essentially, been written into law. Again this has been met with both great support and great criticism. The reality is that Obamacare has not done exactly what it was promised to do, have had a negative impact on the struggling job market and will likely remain the subject of controversy for some time to come.
The traditional healthcare that had existed for decades in the United States was fairly simple. People either received medical insurance, of varying quality, via a shared cost with their employers or by purchasing it themselves on the open market. This could make it difficult for the economically challenged to obtain medical care and costly medications they may need. More so people with preexisting, meaning an already diagnosed illness, could be charged outrageous costs to gain coverage or would be denied all together (Amadeo 1). Clearly there are flaws and disparities that need to be addressed to improve that system for all Americans. The Affordable Care Act is the first real healthcare reform attempted on a federal level in the United States in, more than, 45 years. It ideal intention was to create a healthcare system that would allow more Americans to afford and be accepted for coverage, regardless of their present health and conditions (Gruber 1).It hoped to transform the insurance market, changing the non-group insurance, expands the realm of public insurance, increase revenue with new taxes. For the average citizen it meant finding insurance before the deadline on specific website, a number of which failed to work properly for some time after they were launched, leaving many American confused and frustrated with the whole concept. Even after its passage, more than 54% of Americans were not in favor of the new Act (Amadeo 1).Over the last several years the popularity of Obamacare has fluctuated, with many claiming it has done nothing but cost money and is not feasible in the United States in the long-term format, while others “sing its praises” and consider it the best and most significant benefit in the United States in years.
Now that the Supreme Court has supported the permanence of the Affordable Care Act; the arguments still continue, where both sides makes sense and are worthy of consideration and, if necessary, reconsideration. As with any issue, as mentioned, there are two sides to the Obamacare argument, those who focus on the positives they perceive and the other side focuses on the negatives that they perceive the Act to cause. There are a number of “pros and cons” of the Obamacare issue (Amadeo 1).
Lowers healthcare costs by insuring millions and making preventative care free to all.
It requires all healthcare insurance to cover the essentials of healthcare including mental illness, addictions and chronic diseases.
No denial to people with preexisting conditions.
Limits on coverage eliminated completely.
Parents can umbrella their coverage over their children through to the age of 26.
Establishes tax credits for middle class insured.
Medicaid allows healthcare to Americans without children.
The Medicare gap in coverage should be close by 2020.
Businesses with more than 50 employees are required to offer insurance benefits to their staff; with aid from government if necessary.
It claims that it will lead to by $143 billion over the next 10 years by lowering healthcare costs (Amadeo 1).
30.1 million people have had to change their existing healthcare insurance and end up paying more for coverage that they do not need.
Americans may lose their existing employer provided healthcare if it does not meet the “essential” care standards now endorsed by Obamacare.
Will lead to very high cost in the short term as the government funded preventative care will lead to costly, complimentary, testing.
Enforces a penalty on all Americans who do not have insurance each and every year.
It is estimated that, more than, 4 million people are likely to accept the yearly penalty than pay the yearly healthcare cost increase under the new Act.
Many Americans, in 2013, felt an increase in yearly taxes by a full percentage from the previous year.
Employers may intentionally limit their number of employees to avoid providing insurance. This is not beneficial in an America that is still struggling with high unemployment rates.
Pharmaceutical companies are expected to pay millions to close the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D, which could lead to higher prescription costs passed on to the consumers.
The aforementioned lists, detail the two sides of the Obamacare argument, both of, which make strong points and bring attention to areas of relevant concern. Obamacare has brought insurance to those who otherwise would not have it; it has prevented people with preexisting illness to receive reasonably priced healthcare coverage and allowed for many young people, late teen and early 20s, who were often without healthcare of any kind (Sommers, Buchmueller and et. al. 165). The idea of a more socialized approach to medicine is popular in other parts of the world and has been met with successes, but it is by no means perfect. There are few people in the United States that would deny that there are serious needs to approach healthcare and reform the system. However, many American are still asking the question, “is Obamacare the reform that American is looking for?” For many the answer is a resounding yes and for others an eager no. It is obvious that the Act has not worked quite the way that it was hope to, At the same time, there are many who are abundantly happy with the changes that it has brought, particularly the under and uninsured (Amadeo 1). Of course the argument ensues and has continued even after the definitive Supreme Court decision to write The Affordable Care Act into the fabric of American law.
As many American citizens rejoice in the Supreme Court decision, that joy is, obviously, not shared by all. In fact many argue that the new law essentially supports something President Obama promised would not happen with the passage of The Affordable Care Act. It was declared that for Americans who already had insurance that they could afford and were happy with would never be asked to change that healthcare. However, he failed to mention that this would only be true if the insurance that one has meets the new standard established by Obamacare. Ultimately, this has led to many Americans losing the insurance and being forced to pay for policies that cover things that not all policy holders may need; this has led to many Americans being expected to pay twice, sometimes, three times more, than they were before the Act went into effect (Amadeo 1). There are pros and cons to any system and no healthcare system will ever be perfect. However, many conservative Americans argue that all the Act has done is offer cheap or even free insurance to people with lower incomes and charge exceedingly high costs on those of a more fortunate economic class. They also argue that now even more Americans cannot afford insurance now because of the cost increase; many of these Americans will simply forego the insurance and pay the penalty at the end of the year at tax time, because it may be less costly than the actual insurance plan costs they were offered under Obamacare (Mangan 1).
The Affordable Care Act remains highly controversial. Those who support of refer to it has beneficial “healthcare reform,” while those who are oppose to the healthcare plan call it, simply, “Obamacare.” Realistically the best course of action, as offered by scholars, is compromise on the issue. Many feel that there was greater potential to, essentially, reform the reform before it became signed into law (Ha 1).Again, no one is questioning that there is need for more inclusive and comprehensive healthcare for all Americans fairly and equally. Obamacare hopes to solve this problem by taking control of healthcare and enforcing costly insurance on those with a better than average income and granting free healthcare to all those who cannot. Many conservative thinkers have offered augmentations that would make the reform less “classist” and actually implement more affordable healthcare that everyone can afford regardless of their income. However, as of this point The Affordable Care Act is now a part of the legal fabric of the United States; however the controversy over The Affordable Care Act is likely not to subside anytime soon (Mangan 1).
People need healthcare; it benefits the individual and the society as a whole. Whether one is rich or poor, young or old, everyone should have access to treatment when they are injured or unwell. The United States has a responsibility to develop a system that benefits all Americans equally, but Obamacare is not necessarily equal. It has simply shifted costs from individual citizens and placed it at the feet of those who are wealthy; this is still not equality. In the end, the reality is that The Affordable Care Act that was presented by President Barack Obama is not necessarily the Obamacare that America ended up with. This has angered and made many Americans distrustful of the whole concept of the healthcare plan. They have not been able to keep the insurance they previously had, the cost for new insurance was much higher than was expected and the bulk of people ignored the costly requirements and accepted the penalty assessed at tax time. To many Americans this translates into ineffective reform that is not accomplishing what it was supposed and was intended to do. However, there are others who praise the change it has brought; this is never truer of those who have been in need of healthcare for some time and simply could not afford and may not have qualified for traditional insurance. Finally, and once again, there is obviously a need for more effective and beneficial healthcare reform, but what seems to remain a question in the minds of many Americans is whether or not that needed change can be found in Obamacare; these heated debated are not likely to end, regardless of the Supreme Court’s most recent decision.
Amadeo, Kimberly.” Obamacare Pros and Cons: Detailed Advantages and Disadvantages of the
Affordable Care Act. About News.(2015):1.Web. 11July 2015. < http://useconomy.about.com/od/healthcarereform/a/Obamacare-Pros-And-Cons.htm>.
Gruber, Jonathan. “The Impacts of the Affordable Care Act: How Reasonable Are the
Projections?” National Bureau of Economic Research. (2011): 1-27. Print.
Ha, Jeasik. “Health Care Reform” vs. ObamaCare: Partisan Framing of FOX, MSNBC, NYT,
and WSJ.” Gnovis: A Journal of Communication, Culture and Technology.(2012): 1. Web, 11 July 2015.< http://www.gnovisjournal.org/2012/11/30/health-care-reform-vs-obamacare-partisan-framing-of-fox-msnbc-nyt-and-wsj/>.
Mangan, Dan. “Obamacare ruling met with joy and disappointment.” CNBC. (2015):
1.CNBC.Web. 11 July 2015. <http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/25/obamacare-supreme-court-ruling-met-with-joy-and-disappointment.html>.
Sommers, Benjamin D, Thomas Buchmueller and et. al. “The Affordable Care Act Has Led To
Significant Gains in Health Insurance and Access to Care for Young Adults.” Health Affairs. 32.1 (2013): 165-174. Print.