External Influences on Health Care
Healthcare today is changing dramatically. The entire structure of healthcare here in the United States completely changed on January 1, 2014. With the completion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, the old way of healthcare went through a drastic evolution. This was called for by both the people and the government, as previous methods of distributing healthcare were just becoming infeasible. As such, it is clear that there are a wide number of political, legislative, and economic factors that have influenced this dramatic change and will continue to make evolutions in the health care field.
There are definitely political forces at play in regards to the recent healthcare changes, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a highly controversial law that was deeply opposed by the majority of the Republican Party. Members of Congress who opposed the law so much claimed it was a step towards socialism, and those laws forcing such strict regulations on the healthcare industry, a multi-billion dollar industry here in the United States, was outright wrong. On the other hand, the Democrats, led by President Obama saw the abuses of the healthcare industry and the millions of Americans unable to afford health care as a gross abuse of the system. They demanded reform and were willing to start a political war over the passing of the bill. There was a bitter debate about the budget of all the proposed changes that lasted for months in Congress. Even after the bill was past, the Republicans tried everything in their power to stop it, including the stalemate about the budget that eventually led to the government shut down in late 2013 when political rivals would not budge on issues of government spending that primarily revolved around the huge costs of Osama’s Reform bill (ABC, 2013). Clearly, the issue of healthcare in the United States has had some serious political ramifications in that it has deepened the divide between the Republican and Democratic Parties.
From a legislative perspective, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act dramatically changes the way the government is involved with health care here in the United States. It took a long hard fight in Congress to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed. For a long while, there was a complete stalemate in Congress, with Republicans refusing to back the bill, which essentially stalled its progress into becoming law. Yet, after private health care companies were conducting abuses, many believed that “the government should play a leading role in developing and delivering healthcare,” (Melnik & Marques, 2012, 12). Thus, the bill was eventually passed. This then placed a lot of legislative responsibility on the states, who were forced to come up with government sponsored healthcare programs that were affordable and free of the pre-existing condition exclusions private plans were using for years. States had to develop their own exchanges, which did impact their legislative approaches to healthcare in their own individual states.
Yet, it is the economic influences and consequences of the new heath care changes that are most dramatic. The research suggests that “issues associated with health policy stem from individual health, the overall health of the country, and the economic problems associated with healthcare” (Melnik & Marquez, 2013, 12). In 2012, over 47 million Americans were not insured, leaving them vulnerable to medical debt if they were to ever be injured (Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 2013). The premiums were just being set too high by insurance companies. Additionally, defaults on hospital payments for these uninsured were costing hospitals and state governments money. The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act aims to help carry the burden of cost for insurance for the average American. This makes it more affordable, but then places the burden on the government. Essentially, the bill will ultimately cost the government $1.23 trillion by the year 2023 (Obama Care Facts, 2013). For a nation that is so already deeply in debt, this is a huge cost to take on. This is why Republicans fought so hard against it, because the nation is already so deeply in debt. Still, the act is taking an incredible burden off the average American. Ultimately, for most, their premiums are going down dramatically and making health care more affordable than ever.
ABC News. (2013). Government shutdown 2013: After defeat, tea party promises attacks on healthcare. Health. Web. http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/10/government-shutdown-2013-after-defeat-tea-party-promises-attacks-on-health-care-95560.html
Henry J. Kaiser Foundation. (2013). Key facts about the uninsured population. Uninsured. Web. http://kff.org/uninsured/fact-sheet/key-facts-about-the-uninsured-population/
Melnik, Jessica & Marquez, Chrysanne. (2012), The legislative Process: And its relation to health policy. Slideshare Healthcare. Web. http://www.slideshare.net/melnik02/legislation-and-health-care-policy
Obama Care Facts. (2012). Cost of Obama Care. Obama Care Facts: Dispelling the Myths. Web. http://obamacarefacts.com/costof-obamacare.php
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