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The Good(s) and Bad(s) of Affordable Care Act

President Obama’s efforts at creating conducive health care facilities for the people in America resulted the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Also known as Obamacare, the policies have made revolutionary changes in the entire health care scenario in the USA.

affordable care act aspects

To understand ACA’s performance, we first need to know how the health care industry looked like before ACA came to the market:

Costs incurred in medical care before March 23, 2010 (date of imposing Obamacare)

  • Just before March 23, 2010, when Obamacare was officially announced as open, people complained of extremely high prices for health care all across the United States. However, if we look at the history, U.S. health care departments were receiving funds at a very slow rate prior to 2000.
  • The decade before 2010, between 2000 and 2010, the clinical and physician’s services costs in the USA had the following growth percentages-

 

Year Total cost of clinical procedures and physicians
2000 7%
2001 8.6%
2002 8.0%
2003 8.0%
2004 6.9%
2005 5.0%
2006 5.2%
2007 5.2%
2008 5.4%
2009 3.3%
2010 2.5%

 

The 1970s saw a growth of 10.4% and grew to 13% by 1980s.

  • The private insurance companies were continuously minting money from these health insurance coverages, as a fixed cap was not introduced on insurance rates and premiums. For instance in 2009, when all the other industries were facing a downward spiral, some insurance companies were making outstanding profits and people were giving huge premiums.
  • The medical expenses witnessed a huge rise between 2000 and 2010. This rise was sudden. For instance, the per capita U.S. healthcare expense was $1083 in 1958, while the same had risen to $8953 in 2012.

Opinion about health insurance before Obamacare

Various polls have shown that people liked their health care policies before ACA got introduced. They did not feel that they were spending a lot of money on health insurance.

As many as 87% of the people in America with private health policies were found satisfied with the health care quality. Moreover, 66% were satisfied with the price they paid towards their medical care.

88% of the employees with employer-based plans were greatly satisfied too.

Status of health care in the U.S. Before Obamacare

A 2008 report in a popular cancer related journal said, cancer treatments are far better in the USA than its Canadian or European counterparts:

  • Overall, Americans had a higher rate of survival in 13 of all the 16 common types of cancer.
  • Americans had nearly 20% greater chance of surviving five years of cancer diagnosis.
  • By comparison, 2.7% of U.S. women survived cancer for five years than women in Europe.

 

President Barack Obama and other democrats produced the following stats in support of Obamacare – almost 15% of the U.S. population was uninsured. 46 million people including some 8 million children did not have any kind of health coverage. The government was of the opinion that private insurers were not being able to administer health care to all the people in America. If the government took charge of the situation, many more people would receive the facilities provided by health care providers.

Whether the stats provided by the U.S. Federal Government are absolutely accurate or not is debatable. What needs to be checked is how the health care system looks like now, after the ACA has been successfully implemented.

  • Obamacare tried to solve the middlemen issues. The government intervened into as most of the customers were paying more premiums, a percentage of which went to these middlemen who suggested the policies to them. With the ACA, people are now paying much less premium to get the same kind of treatment they had received earlier.
  • Competition is necessary to maintain high quality standards, which Obamacare feared will get lost because health care was largely becoming government aided. Hence the Federal Govt. has not asked the private insurers to move out of the market, instead, are asking the big and small health insurance carriers to keep doing their jobs like they did earlier.

What effect ACA will bring to the health care industry is something we all need to wait and see. The goal is to make things easy and more accessible for the public.



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