Health Policy

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Value Dimensions of the Affordable Care Act

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted in March 2010 will increase health insurance coverage to millions of Americans. This is the first significant reform in health care in over 40 years and targets closing the gap of uninsured Americans by mandating insurance. There has been debate over the individual health insurance mandate and whether it is constitutional. Opinions on the individual mandate and the values it impacts are conflicting among all stakeholders. This talk will concentrate on the following stakeholder groups: (1) Insurance companies and (2) uninsured individuals who might otherwise choose not to purchase health insurance or do not have the means to do so (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012).

It is no secret that health care has become increasingly unaffordable; cost of medical treatments and insurance premiums keep rising and society feels a moral obligation to insure that its citizens do not suffer from the unavailability of health care. The individual mandate provision has been and will continue to be one of the most controversial elements embodied in the ACA. This provision requires individuals to maintain minimum essential coverage each month or pay a penalty. This new law allows the American people to choose health insurance plans that work best for them by providing a short, plain language summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) as well as a glossary of commonly used insurance terms to all patients. Coverage includes those who, until now, have continuously been denied because of their existing health conditions Beginning (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, 2010). January 1, 2014, all U.S. residents are required to maintain the previously mentioned essential coverage unless the individual falls into certain categories including the following: religious conscience exemption, incarcerated individuals, undocumented aliens, when contribution exceeds 8% of household income and...
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