Quality healthcare is one of the inherent constituents of a healthy community. In the United States, the healthcare system has in recent times undergone various improvements through the ObamaCare program. The program was intended to deliver health insurance to the vast population of uncovered Americans while availing low-cost, affordable, and quality healthcare. The program is founded on the Affordable Care Act (2010), a bill proposed by President Barrack Obama to improve the state of health in the US. The act was upheld by the Supreme Court on 28th June 2012 (EBSCO Host, 2015). Since its inception, vast health outcomes have been evident in the United States even though the country has one of the most expensive and unaffordable healthcare systems in the world (Barr, 2011). Over the years, the program has received many praises as well as critics and has been the center of many debates. While the ObamaCare phrase remains profound, this paper seeks to explore more on its concepts to promote a better understanding of what ObamaCare means.
Legally, the ObamaCare program is known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It was signed into law by President Barrack Obama in 2010 to provide more Americans with affordable health insurance (Amadeo, 2015). Also, it was meant to regulate the health industry and improve the quality of health insurance and health care service in the United States. In 2013, approximately 44 million American citizens were living without health insurance because of the unaffordable costs required to take up a cover (Barr, 2011). Interestingly, a vast proportion of this part of the population was working families.
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The ObamaCare is associated with various benefits. Firstly, it expands Medicaid’s eligibility so that low-income earning families can pay for health insurance. Secondly, the main aim of the ObamaCare program is to make sure that all Americans have health insurance through private providers or federally assisted means. Thirdly, ObamaCare has expanded the Medicare program by providing recipients with new protections and benefits (EBSCO Host, 2015; ObamaCare Facts, 2015). The outcome is increased the number of insured people as well as better access to quality healthcare services and insurance coverage. Finally, the program offers assistance and affordable quality premiums through the health insurance marketplace. These are just a few among the many benefits obtainable from the ObamaCare program.
Costs of ObamaCare
Over the years, the estimated costs of President Obama’s signature health care law have been declining, presumably because of the lower premiums suggested by the health care law. As compared to the present, the program is expected to cost 11 percent less, which is equivalent to USD 142 billion. For individuals, the current spending on the ObamaCare program ranges from 2 to 9.5 percent of the net income after the government’s cost assistance (ObamaCare Facts, 2015). Cost assistance is given to low and middle-income earning families and businesses. These groups buy health insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace. Considering the government’s support, the average premiums for a plan purchased in the marketplace cost USD 82 for all care plans.
Opinions on ObamaCare
Objectively, I have a positive attitude to ObamaCare based on its numerous pros. Since its inception, the health incomes as influenced by the program have greatly improved. Many prior unsecured people have accessed health insurance and now have access to quality low-cost health (ObamaCare Facts, 2015). My opinions remain unchanged despite many beliefs by a significant number of people, who think that the program is the government’s plan to interfere with the lives of citizens. These arguments can be termed as mistaken from the fact that the ObamaCare program has been influential to better health outcomes.
There are various reasons why I support ObamaCare and believe that the services should continue. Firstly, many people with no prior access to health insurance have obtained safer and healthier lives than before. The outcome has been a healthier and more productive community. Secondly, ObamaCare presents various benefits such as cost assistance, especially to the low and middle-income families and businesses. The approach ensures better access to healthcare insurance as well as promotes improved security and coverage (ObamaCare Facts, 2015). Thirdly, employees in high-income businesses are secured by their employers as required by the law. The approach aids employees to get health insurance at the expense of their employers, which helps them save on costs. As such, the Americans are seen to gain more than they lose, hence advocating for the program.
Different Legislations on the Affordable Care Act
Various legislative provisions were formulated to streamline the US health system to brand it as one of the superior in the world concerning medical care and health insurance costs. The Affordable Care Act contains various requirements that must be adhered to.
Under the provision of the guaranteed issue, health insurers should not deny a citizen coverage based on his/her current or prior health. The legislation allows all people including those previously uncovered to get insurance with no limitations. Secondly, the provision of the minimum standards requires that each policy meets minimum standards known as the Essential Health Benefits. Additionally, children can remain under their parents’ health covers until when they attain the age of 26 years (Pattson, 2013).
The third provision is regarding health insurance exchanges which focus on people whose covers are not provided by employers or the government. The group hopes for health insurance through the federal exchange, state exchange, or other available means. The fourth legislative provision is regarding the individual mandate. All people are required to purchase health insurance unless they qualify for an exemption. The failure to comply may lead to non-compliance penalties. The outcome of this would be lower premiums because the younger age groups are prompted to purchase health covers having better health (Pattson, 2013). Also, some low-income subsidies and provisions consider families and individuals with an income of less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Legally, these groups of people are eligible for subsidy or cost assistance from the government to enable them to have better access regardless of their insignificant incomes.
Finally, there is the Medicaid expansion. This legislation under the Affordable Care Act is meant to widen the scope of the program to improve the coverage and provide more benefits to the old poor and the disabled. The legislation calls for the increase in Medicaid income threshold, the determinant of the eligibility of a person or a family (Pattson, 2013). Expansion means that more low-income earners will access government support towards improved access to low-cost and quality health care services.
Effects of ObamaCare on Individuals
When many people hear about ObamaCare, the central question that appears in their mind is how the program is likely to affect them, either directly or indirectly. The real effects depend on several factors such as income levels and one’s subscription to other health insurance programs. The effects of the ObamaCare program on people can be divided into various segments of the population, each being affected distinctly.
Different groups of people are influenced in several ways. While some segments of the population may pay more for health care, others have access to free or low-cost health insurance based on the levels of income (Amadeo, 2015). For instance, some people get health insurance at the expense of their employees. For this group, ObamaCare will be the continuation of the health insurance as provided by the employer. This group is entitled to new rights and protections offered by the program.
Similarly, other groups of people are part-time workers; thus, it is the employer who decides whether to provide health insurance. By law, business owners with more than 50 full-time employees are required to offer healthcare medical covers. However, some employees may have less than 30 full-time employees to avoid the expenses on health insurance (Pattson, 2013). Further, ObamaCare affects disabled persons. These are legally permitted to receive more medical care through Medicare. They will receive more new protections and benefits from the improved Medicare program.
Effects of ObamaCare on Businesses
ObamaCare affects businesses and their owners in various ways. Notably, the size of the company determines the impact on the types of penalties resulting from non-compliance. Legally, business owners are required to offer protection to their employees. Those with 25 or fewer full-time employees receive tax breaks by up to 50 percent when they provide health insurance to employees through the health insurance marketplace (Amadeo, 2015). Similarly, business owners with 50 or more full-time employees have an option of providing insurance under ObamaCare. Alternatively, they can pay a tax of USD 2000 per employee starting from January 2015 (ObamaCare Facts, 2015). Further, a business owner with 99 or fewer full-time employees should seek insurance on their state’s health insurance marketplace because it provides cost-effective alternatives. Since its inception, the program has significantly reduced the number of uninsured employees by compelling business owners to cover their employees through the ObamaCare program.
Effects of ObamaCare on Medicare
There is a strong relationship between ObamaCare and Medicare. In general, the Medicare is a government-sponsored program that supports people older than 65 years as well as the physically disabled. Presently, more than 50 million people are covered by the Medicare program, and they have felt the reforms that have been instituted after the inception of the ObamaCare program (EBSCO Host, 2015). Notably, the level of services has improved. Many seniors on the Medicare program note that preventive services such as the annual wellness checkups, immunizations, cancer screenings, and cholesterol and diabetes care among others are offered without co-payments. However, there are many rhetorical myths about the discontinuity of the program under the influence of ObamaCare thus leading to vast confusion. Despite this, experts have confirmed that the current outcomes are impactful and the funding continues (Barr, 2011). However, the prospect of the program is indeterminate.
This paper has investigated the famous ObamaCare program, which is legally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It was established in 2010 and enacted in 2012 with the aim of providing a low-cost quality health care and insurance to the vast number of unprotected Americans. The program has a significant effect on Medicare, ordinary people, as well as businesses. Currently, the cost of getting health insurance stands at USD 82 for individuals. The costs are expected to lower over time because of the changes in the health care law. Overall, the ObamaCare is functional and impactful despite many critiques. The program should continue as it has proven useful in assisting millions of Americans to access better health care.