ObamaCare, officially known as The Affordable Care Act, ACA, was signed into law during President Obama’s tenure in 2010. The act targeted providing affordable health insurance coverage to all Americans. It also aimed at protecting citizens from insurance company strategies that could restrict care or drive up patient costs.
Millions of Americans have benefited through ACA by receiving insurance coverage. Most of the beneficiaries were in low-income paying jobs or unemployed. Others couldn’t work due to family obligations, disabilities, or preexisting medical complications like chronic diseases.
Despite the benefits, the ACA has been very controversial. Conservatives were against the higher insurance premiums and tax increase required to pay for the act. Some individuals in the healthcare industry objected to the extra workload and costs placed on them.
Besides, they also think the act could negatively impact the quality of care. This has seen frequent calls for the ObamaCare act to be overhauled or repealed.
Below are the pros and cons of ObamaCare.
Health insurance is more affordable to many Americans
Insurance companies must spend at least 80% of insurance premiums on medical improvements and care. The act also targets to prevent insurance companies from making unrealistic rate increases. Although insurance coverage isn’t entirely free, Americans now have an array of coverage options.
More Americans have access to health insurance
Over 16 million Americans acquired health insurance coverage within the first five years of the ObamaCare act. Young adults make up the biggest percentage of newly insured Americans.
No time limits on care
Before the ObamaCare act, some patients with chronic diseases ran out of insurance coverage. Insurance companies have set limits on the funds they can spend on an individual patient. Now, insurance companies cannot limit the coverage they provide to their clients.
People with preexisting health problems cannot be denied coverage
Before the act, a preexisting health condition like cancer made it hard for most patients to get health insurance. Most insurers wouldn’t cover treatment for such conditions. They argued that the injury or disease happened before their plans covered the patient. Under ObamaCare, a patient can’t be denied insurance coverage due to a preexisting health condition.
Prescription drugs are cheaper
One promise the ACA act made was making prescription drugs affordable. Many Americans, especially senior citizens, can’t afford all their medications. Millions of beneficiaries have saved a lot on prescription drugs under the ACA.
More screenings are covered
ObamaCare covers numerous screenings and preventive services. Usually, they have low deductibles or copays. The aim is that if patients are active in their healthcare, they can delay or avoid major health issues later.
Over time, healthier consumers will lead to lower costs. For instance, an early diabetes screening and treatment could prevent expensive and debilitating treatment later.
The act aims for Americans to be insured all year round. If uninsured and don’t get an exemption, you will pay a modest fine. However, this was before 2019, after which the federal tax penalty was removed.
The cost has not decreased for all
Americans who don’t qualify for subsidies could find marketplace health insurance plans expensive. Clients could end up paying more for a plan, including benefits like maternity care that they may not require.
Besides, health insurance companies now offer various benefits covering individuals with preexisting conditions. This has led to a high rise in premiums for most people who already had health insurance. Also, the underlying Medicare cost hasn’t been lowered.
The government passed several taxes into law to help cover the ACA act. These include taxes on pharmaceutical sales and medical devices. Taxes were also raised for individuals with high incomes, and the funds also came from savings in Medicare payments.
Impact on small businesses
Most of the concerns by critics stem from small businesses. ObamaCare can incentivize businesses to maintain their employee number artificially low. Only businesses with 50 or more workers must provide health insurance for their workers. This can impact the number of people employed full-time in small businesses.
Many companies reduced their provider networks to cut costs while implementing ObamaCare. This left many consumers with limited options for providers in their network.
The ObamaCare act targeted providing affordable health insurance coverage to all Americans. It also aimed at protecting citizens from insurance company strategies that could restrict care or drive up patient costs.
Despite the benefits, the ACA has been very controversial. Conservatives were against the higher insurance premiums and tax increase required to pay for the act.
Some individuals in the healthcare industry objected to the extra workload and costs placed on them.