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Where’s the Health in Healthcare Reform?

The US healthcare system is in a serious crisis these days because of rising costs that prevent many Americans from accessing affordable and quality medical services. It’s stifling the overall economic development, and there are endless difficulties doctors, patients and physicians have to face. That’s why the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) was written and signed on March, 23, 2010 by President Obama, and it comes with certain pros and cons that should be evaluated to understand where the health in this reform is. This reform is more targeted at health insurance costs and making medical services more affordable to patients than overall health in its general meaning. It facilitates different changes, both good and bad ones, and they’ve already started affecting average US citizens. Find out more about them to understand their impact on you and your healthcare expenses.

What This Reform Involves

Basically, the Affordable Care Act is the healthcare reform law targeted at expanding and improving people’s access to medical services reducing their expenses through specific taxes and regulations. It is focused on improving the quality of healthcare, providing more citizens with their access to the necessary medical insurance, regulating the whole industry and decreasing relevant spending in the US. For example, you’ll be able to buy prescription drugs at a reliable Online Pharmacy in a more affordable way.

This important document includes different provisions that address the key aspects of the existing healthcare crisis. It does many essential things for the nation, such as the following:

  1. Providing patients with a set of new rights, consumer protections and benefits in regards of healthcare policies and services.
  2. Establishing the Health Insurance marketplace where they can buy a subsidized and federally-regulated policy during their open enrollment.
  3. Improving healthcare treatments for seniors and disabled patients (especially long-term ones).
  4. Expanding Medicaid coverage to all adults in all states and employment coverage to a large number of workers.
  5. Forcing most patients to have their coverage to get an exemption instead of paying fees.
  6. Introducing new taxes and their breaks in addition to other provisions.

Main Goals to Be Accomplished

There are certain things that should be accomplished to make the above-mentioned points possible.

  1. Allowing more portability to the modern healthcare market to guarantee that patients don’t have to switch to other insurance policies only because they’ve changed their job.
  2. Letting all business owners pool together to buy group insurance coverage at more competitive rates than it would cost them on their own.
  3. Expanding flexible health savings accounts that minimize wastage and reward your common sense.
  4. Getting rid of frauds, abuses and other similar pitfalls (now they make up to 20% of all healthcare insurance and Medicare expenses).
  5. Eliminating medical malpractice to reduce defensive medicine because it increases healthcare malpractice insurance costs.
  6. Investing more money in education, awareness, early and effective prevention of chronic diseases.
  7. Allowing US patients to buy their health insurance from different providers, as this is what enables them to shop for the most affordable rate.

Key Steps to Be Taken

The US healthcare reform uses a set of important “building blocks” to improve the insurance system that exists now. It’s targeted at proving more patients (especially with low budgets) with an access to the necessary coverage, setting up effective mechanisms that allow consumers to shop for the best policy knowledgeably, providing them with legal protections, and so on. For instance, if you need to buy Viagra online, it’ll be less expensive.

This important reform includes the following steps:

  • Encouraging more employers to offer affordable and sufficient health insurance to their workers.
  • Expanding Medicaid to let more patients with low-income levels qualify for this coverage successfully.
  • Requiring more transparency and improving existing consumer protections.
  • Creating new protections to protect people from unreasonable increases in health insurance rates.
  • Encouraging preventive and primary medical care, as it’s the best way to avoid serious health problems and expensive hospital bills.
  • Enticing more American citizens to buy health insurance policies.
  • Streamlining their purchase via establishing the Health Insurance Exchange.
  • Offering certain credits for buying private coverage to patients with moderate income levels if they can’t qualify for Medicaid.

4 Ways How the Reform Provides More Stability

There are several basic ways how the healthcare reform can provide people with more security and stability.

  1. If you don’t have any coverage, it’s possible to get an affordable and quality plan not only for yourself, but also for your family, and the best thing is that it will stay with you even after relocating, changing or losing your current job.
  2. This reform is aimed at bringing the increasing healthcare costs under control, and this means that businesses and families will end up with great savings. Think about cutting a lot of money in inefficiency and waste in different federal programs, such as famous Medicaid and Medicare, in addition to unwarranted subsidies to insurance providers who do nothing to improve the quality of healthcare.
  3. It’s necessary to make Medicare more effective to be able to direct more taxes to care for senior patients instead of enriching insurance providers. This is how seniors can get the benefits they’ve been promised, and they will pay less for the necessary prescription drugs.
  4. Lastly, the healthcare reform will provide all US citizens with basic consumer protections to hold insurance firms accountable. Such companies won’t keep discriminating Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.

Future changes will put an end to this practice and prohibit insurance providers from denying their coverage because of the medical history of patients. They won’t be allowed to drop it if clients get sick, and another great thing is that the healthcare reform places a certain limit on how much they can charge you for medical out-of-pocket expenses, and this means no American will go broke when getting sick.

This law requires insurance companies to cover preventive care services, regular checkups and screening tests, including colonoscopies and mammograms, and this improvement makes sense because it can help healthcare providers save people’s lives and reduce relevant expenses. This is what the healthcare reform is about! Once it’s completed, you will get an access to affordable and high-quality options even if you have no health insurance. Besides, if you like your physician, you can keep this professional; if you want to stick to your current healthcare plan, you can do that; if you prefer to buy medications from Canadian Pharmacy, keep doing it. Forget about standing in lines and bureaucracy!

Why It Is a Controversial Issue

However, many experts agree that this reform brings crucial ethical issues, and that’s what is not told to many American consumers. The latest PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) started a real ethical debate over a few controversial topics, and it’s going to affect public healthcare, access to it and other relevant areas. But what makes the healthcare reform a controversial subject?

Start with examining fundamental goals of the modern medical system and patients’ desires. Think about what they expect and want from healthcare in general, and you’ll come up with 4 basic desires and goals that shape the whole system.

  1. People want to get the highest quality patient care, and it’s quite obvious why they want that (getting the best health benefits). Nowadays, the US is one of the world’s leaders in expanding and improving the quality of medical services and treatments.
  2. Patients want to have freedom of choice in healthcare options, and this means they prefer to decide to whom, where and when to go to receive the necessary care (retaining their full control over medical choices).
  3. They all want medical services to be as affordable as possible and avoid spending too much on them not to end up without any resources left for other basic needs.
  4. Sharing considerable health&care benefit is another common desire of US citizens, and that’s why public health insurance programs are established, which are targeted at providing affordable care to the indigent and the elderly.

It’s true that these goals are very attractive and widespread in the US, and it might be possible to achieve them all when healthcare options are more limited and their costs are more affordable. However, people need to understand that they are incompatible with the rapid growth of the modern healthcare system, and this means that they all can’t be maximized at once, so that only a few of them can be achieved while compromising others. This is where the main issue of this reform lies because of the extreme difficulty of finding the right balance among these basic healthcare goals in the US.

Pros and Cons Expected from This Reform

  • Pros: Benefiting from affordable healthcare options because Obamacare helps many needy and poor patients to get their insurance coverage that they couldn’t afford in the past, special subsidies are used to cover the costs involved.
  • Cons: Expecting higher medical costs for some groups of patients despite the above-mentioned benefit because of their canceled policies due to not meeting new Obamacare requirements and standards.
  • Pros: Preventing coverage denials and cancelations because of pre-existing medical conditions, so that insurance companies are no longer able to charge more or refuse your coverage due to them.
  • Cons: Health insurance providers have to refuse from some of their networks, thus, narrowing them because of ACA standards and criteria. In general, fewer companies are allowed to provide their in-network coverage, but they can reduce the overall costs involved, and patients are left with fewer alternatives to choose from.
  • Pros: The healthcare reform expands Medicaid, the well-known federally and state-funded program, to get insurance coverage to previously uninsured consumers. Prior to this innovation, Medicaid covered only a few groups of patients, such as disabled patients, low-income elderly, kids, pregnant women and some others.
  • Cons: Some states can opt out of this kind of Medicaid expansion. These days only 27 states are covered by this program, so others are left uncovered because of unaffordable rates and insufficient tax credits.
  • Pros: Kids can stay on the health insurance of their parents until 26 years old. Unfortunately, young people were less likely to benefit from its real value in the past because they had no opportunity to buy it for themselves due to high premiums, but now they can remain on the coverage policies of their parents until they turn 26.
  • Cons: Long-term health care is not addressed by this reform, and it’s a serious pitfall for many patients, especially the ones turning 65, because they are more dependent on it. This means that some of them still can’t offer the medical treatments and prescription drugs they need.
  • Pros: neither lifetime nor annual limits! Many insurance policies are designed to put certain limits on how much they can spend on the lifetime and annual benefits of their holders, and the healthcare reform stops this rule.
  • Cons: there are certain penalties for uninsured patients in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. If you have no healthcare coverage and can’t qualify for exemptions, you’ll have to pay a fee (its size depends on your regular income).
  • Pros: this reform enables health insurance plans to cover a list of preventative treatments and medications that can be obtained without paying anything.