16 November 2012
Health Care Reform
The state of the economy in the United States is dependent upon many different things: tax rates, the national budget, employment/unemployment rates, and the national debt to name a few. However another topic that is still huge, but may not be thought of as an economic issue by some, is health care reform. Health care reform has been a widely debated topic among political parties since the last election in 2008. And sure enough, with another presidential election coming up next month, health care is one of the big issues being debated between the two presidential candidates. President Barack Obama is supporting his legislation that was signed into law back in March of 2010. This law is called the Affordable Care Act, or more commonly known as “Obamacare.” However, Governor Mitt Romney is running with the argument that it is not the right of the federal government to run the health care system. Instead, he believes that it is each of the states’ responsibility to create a health care plan that is right for the citizens of that particular state. Both of these candidates have very different ideas, with pros and cons to both, and the issue could be a deciding factor for many voters. This act has three major goals for health care reform, which are stopping abuse by insurance companies, making Medicare stronger, and giving women more control over their health. Most people in the United States today have their own private health insurance plans. Some of these plans are provided by their employers while others are not. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could basically do whatever they wanted when it came to premiums and what kinds of coverage they provided. They could charge whatever amount of money they wanted to for monthly insurance premiums and they could raise their premiums at any time. Under the Affordable Care Act, these insurance companies will no longer be able to charge their customers with these steep premiums without good reason. This is because they are required to use at least 80 percent of the money from premiums on providing health coverage for their customers, rather than using it to pay their CEOs’ salaries. Also, before an insurance company can raise its premium it must justify the increase to a panel. Another way that the Affordable Care Act prevents abuse from insurance companies is by not allowing them to put a cap on the amount of coverage that they can provide for one person. Also by the year 2014, no company will be able to deny a person health coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Many elderly people in the United States do not have their own private health insurance, but they use Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly. With the Affordable Care Act, Medicare users will save an average of $4,200 over the next ten years on health care. This will be done by allowing users to have a yearly visit to the doctor at absolutely no charge. These visits are for elderly people to check their general health and wellness. Medicare users will also be able to save money on prescription drugs. Currently, there is a coverage gap for prescription drugs. This gap begins when a Medicare user reaches his or her coverage limit for prescription drugs and ends when he or she becomes eligible for what Medicare refers to as “Catastrophic Coverage,” which requires users to only pay a small copayment for prescription drugs. Now under the Affordable Care Act, people who use Medicare no longer have to pay for drugs 100% out of pocket even if they fall within the coverage gap. Instead, they receive a 50% discount on brand name drugs. By the year 2020, there will no longer be a coverage gap and Medicare users will always only be responsible for a small copayment. Finally, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act will give women more control over their health care. This means that...