The recent signing of the patient protection and affordable care act by president Obama has attracted a lot of debate all over the United States. This is due to the predicted effect of the new law on the insurance industry as well as the health care workers.
The new law seeks to reduce the number of uninsured Americans significantly which has resulted into increased cost of medical services. The current Medicaid program is increasingly becoming unsustainable as the number of people covered by the program is expected to hit over 32 million in the next one decade.
However, the main contention is the cost and benefits of the program. While the new law has promised American quality medical care, it is likely to have negative effects on the salaries of medical workers. Moreover, the insurance industry will be negatively affected. However, these negative impacts are in the short term while all are expected to have long term benefits.
Impacts of Health Care Reforms
The health care systems including the medical worker, private and public hospitals will benefit from the proposed reforms. However, the long range economic benefits as a result of the reforms may not be as good as some people have projected.
The basic advantage the medical care providers are going to get is that the patients they will be dealing with will be covered by an insurance program. This will have a positive impact on both the health care workers and the hospitals due to increased efficiency of the system.
However, the reforms will have negative impact due to restructuring of the reimbursement of funds in the system. This will result into massive changes in the delivery of services as well as the mode of payment. In the long run, the doctors are likely to benefit; there are those who gain and these who lose. It is more likely that the medical workers are likely to earn less but in the long run, the system will be better for them than it was before.
The problem of people being unable to pay their medical bill will be a thing of the past. This is due to the universal coverage where majority of the Americans will be able to pool their fund and avoid the burden of medical bills.
Though it is hard to estimate the benefits in the short term, benefits are expected to increase with time. The number of people covered by the insurance programs is expected to increase as the changes in the law allow all the children including the young adult children to be covered by the program.
The law prohibits the denial of coverage of children based on their health conditions while the coverage for adults cannot be dropped due to changes in their health status. Individuals of health status which require special attention will be eligible to a special insurance pool. This will solve the problem of sustainability of the Medicaid program due to the increasing number of uninsured persons.
The new reforms have received a lot of criticism. This is despite it promises of the proposed new laws as a solution to the problems associated with the current programs in the future. The implementation will assure Americans of all walks of life accessible and quality medical care. However, it has been accused of concentrating more on the quantity of health services without taking care of the welfare of the medical workers and the insurance industry.
However, this does not erase the fact that high number of uninsured members of the society is an extra burden to the health systems. Rather than the cost of the medical care being pooled in the population, the cost is met by the patient who in many cases cannot afford the cost.
As the hospitals are struggling to continue operating, they are also struggling with raising the doctors’ fee. The proposed reforms will increase the doctor’s workloads, the ability of the public to pay for specialized and routine medical care service which will have positive impacts on the medical profession. Moreover, more opportunities for the doctors will be created in the long run.
There are no doubts that the proposed new laws will have numerous impacts on the insurance industry. There are some concerns that the proposed reforms will negatively affect the industry which as resulted into opposition by the industry players.
However, the laws will ensure that the public benefits from the services of the insurance companies while protecting them from economic exploitation. In the current programs, the insurance companies are benefiting more as a result of high insurance premiums at the expense of the citizens.
Competition created by the reforms will minimize the cost of insurance premiums while increasing efficiency in the industry. It is important to note that the insurance industry is dominated by very few large companies. As the cost of medical care continues to increase, the insurance companies continue to make multimillion dollars profits. The new program will eliminate the monopoly to check unjustified costs.
There is no doubt that the possible reduction of profits made by insurance companies in the short run is the main reason why the industry is opposed to the reforms. The insurance industry will be restricted more as a result and will not be able to exclude children or drop coverage based on the health status of the individual.
The new law will prohibit coverage for individuals with preexisting health conditions which may have a negative effect on the premiums. Because the reforms in the health insurance may not create universal coverage, the new legislation is likely to result in increased premiums in the short term.
The premiums are expected to raise especially for the high income earners while for the rest of the public; the cost is expected to reduce significantly. Moreover, the economies of scale as a result of increased customers which is expected to reach over 32 million in the next one decade, the premiums are expected to reduce in the long run due to the large infusion of cash in the insurance industry.
The reforms will widen the private insurance program market which will introduce new players in the field. The competition between the large and small insurance players created by the reforms will have positive impacts on the industry in the long run. One of these positive impacts is the incentives created by the increased competition to moderate the insurance costs.
The law will also moderate the health insurance industry. Moreover, quality and efficiency in the industry will increase as a result of competition by the industry players. More people will be covered which will reduce the current scenario where people tend to buy policies when they get sick increasing the running cost.
It has been noted that catastrophes in the workplaces is a major cause of the increased medical expenses in the United States. This is because majority of the workers are not insured.
The new law will solve this problem by ensuring that all employers with more than fifty fulltime workers buy each of them health insurance policy. This will reduce the burden in the health care system where the employees are unable to pay for their emergency medical bills incase a catastrophe happens in their places of work.
It should be noted that the main aim of the proposed health insurance program is that the private insurance programs be funded by the employers on behalf of their employees. This aims at offsetting the medical costs associated with accidents in the work places which will reduce the medical expenses for the employees.
Health care reforms have been a progressive activity in the American history. Almost every president of the United States has proposed some reforms in the health care systems. The increased number of people who are uninsured in the United States and the lack of economic sustainability of the Medicaid program have called for massive reforms in the health care systems.
Although the health reforms proposed by President Obama administration through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts of 2010 have promised Americans accessible quality medical care and long term benefits to the industry players it has received massive criticism. Based on the promises of the new law and the weaknesses of the current programs, the Americans have no regret to make concerning the new law.
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