With the passage of the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to rule the act constitutional, more Americans will have access to health care.
The election season has brought the debate about federally mandated health care back into full swing. Mitt Romney vowed in his Republican National Convention speech that, if he was elected, he will begin the process of “repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
Many critics of the PPACA claim that government shouldn’t intervene in private affairs and that this act will hurt the health care industry.
The PPACA does not force people to purchase insurance through the government’s program. Subsection 1A of Section 1251 of the PPACA states: “In general—Nothing in this act (or an amendment made by this act) shall be construed to require that an individual terminate coverage under a group health plan or health insurance coverage in which such individual was enrolled on the date of enactment of this Act.”
Instead it requires uninsured people to purchase health care, which will increase the number of people entering the market for health care.The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the PPACA will give 30 million Americans access to affordable health care. People with insurance go to the doctor, and those without insurance tend not to seek medical services. With more insured people, there will be an increase in demand for health services.
Naysayers make assertions that the act will cause a loss of jobs in the U.S. economy.
It is important to understand that most people, when they make this claim, are talking about the whole economy and not just the health care sector, which will employ more people because of the resources that are being directed toward it.
Dr. Chris Conover, a health policy expert, estimates that the PPACA will cause a loss of more than one million jobs, adding to the already five million unemployed people in the United States. Under the PPACA, employers are penalized for not offering health care of a certain standard to their employees: a $2,000 fine.
When one considers that a large portion of a person’s wages goes toward the cost of their health care plan and that an employer has to pay toward an employees’ plan as well, it is logical that the employer would offer a health care plan of a lower standard to reduce their own costs. The fine is less costly than providing health care to a company’s unskilled workforce.
Dr. Conover says that low-wage workers will be the section of the workforce affected by the PPACA, but he points out the short-term effects of this act’s implementation.
A low-wage worker, before the passage of the PPACA, who lost his or her job usually lost their health care coverage when their position was terminated. The result is an unemployed, uninsured American.
After the PPACA is implemented, a worker that loses a job won’t have to worry about whether or not he will be insured. She won’t have to wonder where the money for prescriptions will come from. In the long-term, the PPACA will give Americans something that shouldn’t be a luxury—affordable health care.
After our country recovers from this recession, job creation will be spurred and more jobs created. These displaced workers will find employment.
In this debate, it is easy for supporters of the PPACA, as well as critics, to cite statistics and projections, but it also takes away the most important aspect of health care reform: the human element.
Medical advancements have changed the American way of life.
In the course of one century, life expectancy in the United States has increased by 28.1 years on average; from 50.1 years old in 1910 to 78.2 years old in 2010. Americans are living longer, and because of this, they require more health care services.
For the segment of the population that suffers from a chronic illness, health care coverage is the difference between life and death. These people benefit from the AHA, and so does anyone else who has been denied a health care plan because of a preexisting condition.
As an industrialized nation, it is unsettling that something as crucial to public wellbeing as health care has not been offered to American citizens before. Medicaid and Medicare have proven an ineffective system, so the time for reform has come in the form of the PPACA.
Finally, there has been an act passed that doesn’t impose a government-run health care system, but instead gives people the freedom to choose which health care plan they want. In the long run, Americans will reap the rewards of the PPACA.
No longer will people have to worry how they will pay for essential medical care—America has you covered.