The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a law regulating the provision of health care to U.S. citizens that were adopted in 2010. The law became widely known as ‘Obamacare’ because the reforms in the healthcare system were proposed by Barack Obama, and they provoked many debates in society. The purpose of adopting the ACA was the provision of insurance for all people living in the United States (Rak & Coffin, 2013).
During a long period, health care was almost not available to those persons who had no insurance coverage. The ACA aimed at addressing the problem directly and guaranteeing insurance coverage for all U.S. residents (Cheng, Wise, & Halfon, 2014).
However, the problem is the fact that even today there is no single idea regarding outcomes of the reform because it caused many side effects, and the implementation of the law is associated with a range of disadvantages for both patients and physicians. Although opponents of the ACA accentuate such disadvantages of the reform as increases in insurance costs and taxes, the law can be discussed as a reasonable solution to improve the U.S. health care system because of such main advantage as an increase in the number of insured Americans who receive the required care despite their social status.
Advantages for patients
Advantages of the ACA for patients are easy to be noticed and discussed. The adoption of the ACA resolved the problem of the insurance coverage for vulnerable groups of Americans. The poor, unemployed persons and people with pre-existing medical conditions have an equal opportunity to receive the insurance today (Rak & Coffin, 2013). The problem of restricting people having pre-existing medical conditions from receiving the insurance was not resolved for decades, and the solution regarding this point is also an important advantage of the ACA (Grob, Schlesinger, Davis, Cohen, & Lapps, 2013).
The other advantage is important for children because the law extended the dependent coverage to the age of 26 years (Cheng et al., 2014; Rak & Coffin, 2013; Sommers, Buchmueller, Decker, Carey, & Kronick, 2013). Also, the ACA contributed to eliminating the time and cost maximum for life insurance. These changes can be discussed as adding to the improvement of the health care status of the Americans. As a result, this law can be viewed as an effective response to drawbacks of the U.S. healthcare system that were noticed during years.
Advantages for the healthcare system and physicians
Moreover, the advantages are observable not only for patients but also for physicians. Although opponents of ‘Obamacare’ state that the law made the healthcare system more complicated, and physicians face many challenges associated with the workflow, the weak sides of the system were improved. Based on the ACA, a range of changes was initiated in healthcare organizations, and much attention was paid to reducing the dependence on insurance companies in terms of providing treatments and prescribing medications (Rak & Coffin, 2013; Sommers et al., 2013).
Currently, healthcare workers are more flexible in providing the necessary care for all persons without dependence on many insurance restrictions (Rak & Coffin, 2013). Furthermore, the work of physicians is reorganized to provide more preventive services to contribute to the patients’ health status.
However, the opponents of the ACA actively discuss such disadvantages of the reform as increases in the insurance premium costs that are paid by people today and increases in taxes to guarantee the stable work of healthcare organizations and insurance companies. From this perspective, the reform seems to be unfair about people who need to pay taxes and insurance premiums to provide coverage for other persons (Cheng et al., 2014; Rak & Coffin, 2013).
Also, the obligatory character of the insurance provided by employers made them develop illegal strategies to avoid covering the healthcare costs of their workers. Nevertheless, despite being controversial, the ACA has the direct positive outcomes associated with the number of insured persons and implementation of preventive services (Rak & Coffin, 2013). As with any other reform, the ACA was implemented in states with challenges and barriers, and the state healthcare authorities even opposed the quick implementation of the policy (Grob et al., 2013). However, this process can be discussed as normal for policy development and adaptation, and the focus should be on such results as the empowerment of patients.
Although ‘Obamacare’ is a subject of debate for many years, it is possible to state that the advantages of the reform are significant. Thus, the observed positive outcomes support the viewpoint that this reform is effective to improve the healthcare system in the United States. To guarantee that the majority of the population is satisfied with the law, it is necessary to pay more attention to revising budget issues associated with the ACA and focus on the adaptation of the policy to the realities of each state. From this perspective, the determining disadvantages of the ACA can be discussed as easy to be solved if more attention will be paid to revising the policy and addressing its weak points.
Cheng, T., Wise, P., & Halfon, N. (2014). Promise and perils of the affordable care act for children. JAMA, 311(17), 1733-1734.
Grob, R., Schlesinger, M., Davis, S., Cohen, D., & Lapps, J. (2013). The Affordable Care Act’s plan for consumer assistance with insurance moves states forward but remains a work in progress. Health Affairs, 32(2), 347-356.
Rak, S., & Coffin, J. (2013). Affordable care act. The Journal of Medical Practice Management, 28(5), 317-319.
Sommers, B. D., Buchmueller, T., Decker, S. L., Carey, C., & Kronick, R. (2013). The Affordable Care Act has led to significant gains in health insurance and access to care for young adults. Health Affairs, 32(1), 165-174.