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For many decades, the U.S. government had been grappling with health care challenges, and the prospect of providing affordable health care seemed like a pipe dream. The health care problem was heightened further by the effects of inflation in the economy and financial crisis, thus straining the government and employer’s ability to fund for private and public health insurance premiums. As a result of this, research indicates that over 45 million Americans lack health insurance (Fuchs, n.d). The lack of affordable health care was primarily responsible for high infant mortality rates, low life expectancy and early deaths (Emanuel 37). This essay provides a brief summary of Obama's health care reform policy and its impact on the health care industry and society. In addition, the essay will also describe how the policy has been implemented. Finally, I will provide my opinion about the policy.
Before the launch of the Obama Health care Reform policy, Americans were accustomed to seeking health care services from government health care facilities and private insurance companies. However, the Obama has been so passionate about providing affordable and accessible health care to all American citizens.
The health care sector takes a huge chunk of the government allocation, thus leading to the fiscal deficit in the budget (www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform). The rising health care costs and health premiums have plunged many families into economic challenges. The figure below illustrates the high cost of accessing affordable healthcare services.
Summary of Obama Health Care Reform Policy
The Obama Health Care Reform Policy was based on the principle of “stability” and “security” for all Americans. The aim of the health reform policy was to provide health insurance for those for did not have any, while providing stability and security to all those who had health insurance covers. The policy also advocated for lower costs of health care for families, business and government (www.whitehouse.gov). The Obama Health Care Reform Policy was divided into three distinctive categories.
For citizens with health insurance
The health policy aimed at providing more stability and security, by protecting Medicare for seniors and ending prejudice against people with medical conditions. The policy proposed for the abolishing of additional charges for preventive care, and advocated for regular diabetes tests to improve on health and save money. Finally, the policy took care of pocket expense for patients, and safeguarded them from insurance companies that dropped coverage when they were in dire need health care (www.obama-health-care.org).
For citizens without health insurance
The policy planned to provide quality and affordable choices for all Americans. In this respect, the reform policy proposed to offer tax credits to enable people to purchase insurance and small businesses to cover their staff. The policy proposed a public health insurance cover to those citizens who cannot afford medical cover. The policy has developed affordable insurance market place that enable citizens acquire them at competitive prices. Finally, the reform policy offered a national “high risk” that safeguards and takes care of people with preexisting conditions until they can afford their healthcare costs.
For all Americans
The Obama health care reform policy proposed to lower costs of health care for families, business and government. In this respect, the policy required large employers to share the reform responsibility by covering all employees’ medical insurance. The policy also created an independent commission of medical expert and doctors responsible for identifying fraud, abuse and waste in the health care system. In addition, the reform policy advocated for medical reform projects that sensitizes doctors against practicing defensive medicine, but instead prioritizing on the needs of the patients (Fuchs, n.d).
Impact of Obama Health Care Reform Policy in the Health Care Industry
In a survey report compiled by the Conservative American Action Forum (CAAF), the Obama health plan is likely to have a negative impact on people with low incomes, since they stand to lose their choice of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The figure below shows how the low income seniors will be affected by the Obama health care policies.
The Medicare Advantage (MA) is a program used disproportionately by low income seniors. For instance, the Five Star Rating Program for Medical Advantage (MA) has already started developing plans of reducing choice plans and deviating Medicare facilities away from low income earners. The Obama health care program proposes to give bonuses to people who achieve four to five rating stars, thereby boosting their rebates and insurance premiums.
However, the survey revealed that most of the low income seniors who constitute 70% of the population can only manage a rating of three starts or less in terms of contributions. As a result, they will not be eligible for affordable health care, yet they are the group that requires those benefits. According to Fuchs (n.d), the Obama care plan seems to be taking away essential health care benefits from those that need it the most. It has been described as a health care plan for the rich and wealthy in the society. In the future, it is anticipated that the MA plans will harm the low income earners since they will not be able to afford them.
Impact of Obama Health Care Reform Policy in the Society
Economic analysts argue that the job sector will experience a modest boost as a result of the new health care reforms. This is because the government will grant tax credits to businesses that provide health care insurance services, thereby reducing their labour costs (Fuchs, n.d). On the other hand, families and business with high incomes will be hardest hit by the health care reforms. For instance, households with high incomes over $250, 000 will experience hike in their Medicare taxes thereby affecting their investment incomes. addition, families with high incomes will also experience an increase in their capital gains investments In, a situation that will increase their capital gains tax from 15% to 23.8% (Fuchs, n.d, Pg 32).
Financial and market analysts have theorized that, the tax credits provided under the Obama health reforms are not feasible to guarantee that small businesses provide quality healthcare services. However, only a few businesses have so far taken up the tax credits, with about 2.5 million eligible businesses failing to take the credits. The main reason is that, the tax credits provided under the health care plan are too little to sustain a viable health care for an increasing population (www.healthcare.gov).
Implementation of the Obama Health Care Policy
Obama health care reform policy that was signed on March 23, 2010 effectively became law, and the implementation process began. A year later in March 23, 2011, a research survey indicated that half of the historic health care provisions had been successfully implemented.
However, some core provisions of the policy will not be in place until 2014. In a poll conducted in March 2011 by a non-partisan organization, the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that a bigger section of the population 30% were in support of health care reforms. However, majority of the population opposed to the mandate which requires all Americans to have health insurance by 2014. One year after its implementation, positive achievements have been recorded. For instance, it is estimated that over 3.6 million patients averagely saved $604. In addition, about 2.5 million young adults were allowed keep sing their parent’s health insurance plans until they are 26 years old (www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform).
Although the implementation plan is going on, the Obama health care reforms have faced significant challenges. Many Republican congressmen are repealing against the health care bill arguing that it is unconstitutional and unsustainable. In January 2011, the house in its first order of business passed a bill to repeal the health care law (www.healthcare.gov).
Since its implementation, the Obama health care law has faced over 20 law suit cases in court challenging its constitutionality. Since there have been conflicting decisions by Appellate courts on the law, it is currently awaiting a Supreme Court decision due in June 2012 (www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform).
In summary, the confusion over the implementation of Obama health care policy continues to rage on. Recent survey reports and opinion polls suggest that its future success remains uncertain. Majority of the citizens are confused as to whether the health law is still operational or it has been repealed.
My position on the Obama health care reform policy
Just like food, water and shelter, health care is a basic need for any individual. In the United States, the high rates of infant mortality, early death and low life expectancy can be associated to lack of accessible and affordable health care. However, the Obama health policy will bring numerous positive changes to the health care system. For example, the reform policies will give 95% of the population access to affordable health care by providing health insurance premiums. In line with this, the government intends to streamline the insurance companies that offer medical cover by making their prices competitive and affordable.
I think that the reform policies are a blessing to the American people, since the cost of prescriptions and medicines will be affordable. In addition, people are likely to benefit from a well managed health care system by the government and the private insurers. Although the health reforms have certain flaws such as increase in taxes for high income families and big businesses, I think that its benefits far much outweigh its limitations. Overall, the Obama health care reform policy will improve the quality of life for people and enhance better economic development.