Healthcare reform has
always been a controversial topic and has divided the public opinion immensely.
It wasn’t until March 23, 2010 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act was signed into law and considered one of the most revolutionary pieces of
legislation in healthcare since Medicare. This new law would help bring
healthcare into arms reach for millions of Americans that were either
ineligible or unable to afford it. Although this has been a pivotal platform in
almost every presidential election it wasn’t until now that so great of change
has occurred and with it new confusion and feeling of uncertainty. This paper
will review and discuss the exact provisions of the ACA, the progress of healthcare
reform to date, and discussing medical student’s perspectives on healthcare
reform. Each topic more important than the next and vital to understand in
hopes of bringing clarity to an otherwise cloudy subject.
The first step in understand healthcare reform progress
is to first identify and understand the new provisions that make up this law.
In the article published by the National Conference of State Legislators that
summarized the new law divided it into six subgroups: “expand access to
insurance, increase consumer protections, emphasize prevention and wellness,
improve quality and system performance, expand the health workforce, curb
rising healthcare costs” (U.S. Government). These new and improved
specifications help save thousands for citizens by slowing the extremely costly
and exponentially growing healthcare costs and by providing free preventive
care which will lead to lower hospitalizations and disease thus keeping care
costs down. By “requiring insurance plans to cover young adults on parents’
policies and prohibiting insurance plans from excluding coverage for children
with preexisting conditions” (U.S. Government), it becomes clear that the
burden of healthcare is moving from the hands of patients to the healthcare
This shift has long been a work in progress and after
decades of different reforms the Affordable Care Act has gained huge ground in
terms of updating and developing long-standing difficulties confronting the
healthcare system whether it be access, costliness, and nature of care given.
An article published by the American Medical Association states that “since
the Affordable Care Act becoming law, the uninsured rate has declined by 43%,
from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2015”. The lack of resources allocated to healthcare
prior to this led to declining quality of care and waiting until patients
became sick to treat them rather than trying to keep them safe. The lack of
attention payed into preventive care was yet another development since Medicare
and Medicaid and one of the main reasons why healthcare has become so costly.
However, all these negatives are what began this progressive movement into
providing “healthcare not as a privilege for a few, but right for all” (Obama).
Following the new legislation many of these changes stated before began toward
a new movement of hope to those uninsured and plagued by intermittent and poor
health screenings. In fact, in early research it was found that “expanded
coverage is improving access to treatment, financial security, and health for
the newly insured” (Obama).
While it is important to understand this law from the
aspect of the patient its equally as important to understand it from the aspect
of a professional and the implications healthcare reform on has on them. Healthcare
reform has been constantly evolving for decades but it has never developed as
quickly as this and so Americas’ future physicians must be ready to adapt and accommodate
such laws. An article titled Healthcare Reform and the Next Generation states
the ACA will have a significant impact on future physicians, yet medical
student perspectives on the legislation have not been well documented”
(Huntoon). While the added paperwork and seemingly monotonous hoops that these
news laws have created it is overwhelmingly evident that while the American people
are divided in how healthcare reform should be handled it is overwhelmingly
agreed upon that some type of reform is needed. Huntoon states that “94.8% of
medical students agreed that the existing United States healthcare system needs
to be reformed, 31.4% believed the ACA will improve healthcare quality, while 20.9%
disagreed and almost half (47.7%) were unsure if quality will be improved.”
These are our countries next line of defense against disease and the minds
behind new development of medicine which makes their input just as important as
Healthcare reform in the United States is an
ever-evolving beast that will constantly need upgrading and revamping to stay
present. While the public opinion on healthcare is split or unknown it can be agreed
upon that some type of reform is needed. The most important thing people can do
now is learn about the new Affordable Care Act and make a judgment of their knowledge.
This new legislation has its good and bad as any new legislation does but making
note of the bad brings us one step closer to perfecting it. There is no need to
reinvent the wheel simply redesign in to work better and benefit everyone.