Patient Protection And The Affordable Care Act

1995 words - 8 pages

The rapidly rising cost of health care in the United States has made access to medical care difficult for many citizens. Additionally, the number of uninsured is increasing because of job loss and reduction of employee benefits. This trend is projected to continue. The negative effect of reduced access to health care may have alarming effects on the economic well-being of the nation. The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) marks the beginning of significant transformation in the United States’ health care systems. After multiple attempts to reform health care over the years, the nation’s leaders have succeeded in pushing through this landmark legislation that will ensure most Americans will have access to health insurance by the beginning of 2014. However, does access to insurance assure access to actual healthcare? Will the costs of the insurance and related health care be affordable economically and socially? The foundational question the United States is addressing is whether health care is a basic human right available to all or a service available only to the working insured whose employers can afford the cost or to those who qualify for social programs. How do other industrialized nations manage health care? Why is our system so different and inefficient?
Universal insurance coverage was discussed at the birth of government benefits. Beginning with Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, politicians have been striving to include in the United States’ national plan some form of health insurance. Over the years, the American public has been in favor of some type of national health care coverage as long as individuals did not bear the increase in costs; therefore, no universal coverage legislation has passed (Hoffman, 2009). This failure to pass national health insurance has been attributed to additional reasons including “the complexity of issues, ideological differences, the lobbying strength of special interest groups, a weakened Presidency, and the decentralization of Congressional power” (Hoffman, 2009).
A series of events has recently occurred to cause the passage of PPACA. Economics are explicitly linked to health care. In the United States, health care coverage is provided primarily through an employer-based system. This system began in the depression era when pay was federally frozen. Companies, in an attempt to lure scarce workers, used benefits packages including health care as bait. Described as a “uniquely American” “private social security” health care system, the employer-sponsored system is the “cornerstone” of United States health care system (Blumenthal, 2006). This system has left many un- or under-insured. Blumenthal states (2006), “The United States’ dependence on employer-sponsored insurance means that the protection of its citizens against the costs of illness depends directly on the ability of private businesses to manage and absorb health care expenses that have defied all efforts to contain...

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