Affordable Care Act Essay

1308 words - 6 pages

Healthcare in the United States is an incredibly complex issue and a large portion of the nation’s economy. As healthcare costs continue to rise and burden the American family, something needed to be done to address not only the runaway costs but also the quality of care. Innovation and medical discoveries over the years have greatly improved care for patients, but numerous facets of the healthcare industry have been insufficiently addressed. Despite the proposals of various politicians, advocacy groups, and medical leaders across the country, little progress was made. March 23rd of 2010 marked a major milestone in American healthcare progress when President Barack Obama signed into law the ...view middle of the document...

Both Medicare and Medicaid are programs signed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1965.2 Medicare is an insurance program for the elderly in the United States and is funded through a tax collected based on income. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a program focused on the support of low-income individuals and their children especially. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, one of the issues concerning Medicaid is that many of the working poor in this country did not have sufficient income to purchase private health insurance, but were above the income level to be considered eligible for Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act aims to strengthen Medicaid to provide low-income workers with options in the marketplace. Because Medicaid is a federally-supported but state-run program, the effects of the Affordable Care Act may be somewhat confusing. Many states have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs under the new law while others have not. This means that Americans have different options available to them depending on their state. For example, for someone in a state which is expanding Medicaid, an individual making up to $16,105 a year would qualify for the Medicaid program. Similarly, a family of four with an income of up to $32,913 would be Medicaid-eligible.3 For those who live in states which decided not to expand their Medicaid programs, these numbers would be calculated differently.
Although individuals in states not expanding Medicaid may not qualify for Medicaid coverage, the law provides patients with other options. Obamacare ensures that state Medicaid coverage is offered to those with incomes of up to 133% of the poverty level. Additionally, for those who exceed this level, tax credits are available for those up to 400% of the poverty level.3
Tax credits are used in the private health insurance marketplace as a way for individuals and families to purchase private insurance at a lower out-of-pocket cost. Missouri is one of the states opting to not expand Medicaid and as a result will not be receiving billions from the Federal government which could be used to insure thousands of Missourians. The reason for much of this confusion was a United States Supreme Court ruling which determined that Medicaid expansion programs were a choice of the states and could not be enforced by the Federal government.
In response to the expansion of Medicaid, many political conservatives have voiced opposition to the increase in taxes that would be required to sustain such a venture over the long-term. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Federal government finances Medicaid at an average rate of 57 percent with numbers as high at 73% in poorer states.4 It is clear from these numbers that the Medicaid program is without question very expensive. Because mandates and eligibility requirements are set by the Federal government, state expansions are almost necessary in many ways in order to continue receiving federal funds. Ultimately...

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