What is Health Care Reform - Finding the Simple in the Complicated

The cost of healthcare is rapidly rising.  Now more than ever, it’s time for America to resolve the health care reform debate and find a solution allowing universal healthcare. 

The Obama administration, in 2010, signed into law the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, it was hastily implemented and there were too many prohibitive costs for the average American. Now, the Trump administration seeks to repeal the law.  

What went wrong with the Affordable Care Act, and how does the White House aim to fix it? Despite adamant opposition from Democratic leaders, the Senate continues to attempt to repeal ACA. So what’s next for healthcare, and what went wrong?

 

The Rising Cost of Healthcare

Health care costs are a direct cause of 62% of all personal bankruptcies filed each year. In fact, the United States health care system, prior to the Affordable Care Act, cost twice as much as any other health care system in the world. 

Preventive care was unaffordable for low income Americans, which, in turn, sent more of these citizens to the emergency room. Unable to pay, those patients simply left their bills outstanding, forcing the hospitals to resort to either government funds or, in worst case, raising health care costs. 

 

In addition to the already high cost of health care due to uninsured Americans, there has been a rise in the past few decades of malpractice lawsuits. Afraid of legal action, doctors began a trend of over-testing. Physicians and hospitals order CAT scans and MRIs, for example, when they may not be necessary. They have also been known to prescribe medications like codeine based painkillers and gabapentin as a first-course, despite the risk of abuse and addiction.

Finally, the advancement of technology has contributed to the rising costs of healthcare. More attention is given to both newborns and the elderly, and this medical attention is pricey. As this medical progress has been made, the United States healthcare system has not kept up with the increased cost. 

Health Care Reform: What’s Next for America?

President Donald Trump and the current administration are seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It was a major point in the president’s campaign, and continues to be a pressing issue today. However, there is no plan to replace “Obamacare.” Instead, the requirement for Americans to purchase health insurance would simply be lifted.

Under plans already proposed by the administration, Trumpcare would end Medicaid expansion and ultimately cut Medicaid and Medicare funding. Tax credits for low income families would also be diminished, and healthcare costs for senior citizens would be raised. Funding for Planned Parenthood would be cut.  

Young people, however, could stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26 under President Trump’s plan. Annual penalties for those who aren’t covered by insurance would be lifted. And Health Savings Accounts would be made available to everyone. 

 

Both Democrats and Republicans can see both benefit and detriment to the White House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Nevertheless, health care reform has become a partisan issue; neither Democrats nor Republicans have been able to reach a compromise. 

The Trump Administration: Making History?

From the installation of Social Security to the introduction of employer-sponsored health insurance and FDR’s universal health care proposal, United States health care has always been a point of great national interest. Many in leadership have attempted to introduce new health care law, but all have fallen short of the perfect solution. 

In 2017, the Trump administration has the opportunity to make history. By examining and learning from the mistakes of past White House proposals for reform, the current leadership can design, approve and implement a plan which will make healthcare affordable for all Americans. 

Regardless of your political affiliation, one key point must be agreed upon: the rising costs of healthcare are, in part, due to the inaccessibility of insurance to low income and underemployed Americans. By eliminating this obstacle at its root, it’s possible that the introduction of universal healthcare can, as a matter of fact, bring health care costs down. It’s time for politicians to put aside differences and find a solution we can all agree on.  

 

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