Social Change: the Future of Healthcare

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The Change in Healthcare
Healthcare in the United States has been a popular topic of debate since the 1990’s. The principal issue has been that some people feel they are underserved in their health care needs, while others feel that the country is overspending on health care. Although people will continue to debate, the issue has recently been brought to justice. President Obama signed new legislation into law on March 23 and March 30, 2010. The aim is to overhaul the nation's health care system and guarantee access to medical insurance for tens of millions of Americans (Health Care Reform, 2010). This legislation was given to President Obama to sign after a very close vote in the House of Representatives of 219 to 212 (Health Care Reform, 2010); the narrow margin illustrates the significance of the issue. This new legislation provides rapid change for healthcare in 2010 and changes should continue gradually well beyond 2014. Health reform will make healthcare more affordable, make health insurers more accountable, and expand health coverage to all Americans. The health system will become more sustainable by providing stability for family budgets, for the Federal budget, and for the economy (The White House, 2010). Some people will see this change as positive, while others will disagree. The most important aspect of this new legislation is to make health care affordable for all Americans, and that is precisely what it will do. It will help about 32 million Americans afford health care who do not get it today and will make coverage more affordable for many more. Under the plan, 95% of Americans will be insured (The White House, 2010). A positive feature is for those who have not been able to afford health care in the past, and will now be able to get the health care they need. A negative feature is that it may exceed many physicians already large workload. This has been observed in Canada where there is universal health care, in which some people can wait over a year for outpatient surgery (M. Wingate, MD, personal communication, 2010). Another problem with the new legislation is the shortage of primary care doctors, who are the first line of care for most people, and with so many more people able to access health care there needs to be resolve. Well, starting in 2011 there will be new incentives in the law to expand the number of primary care doctors, including scholarships and loan repayments for medical students who go into the field (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Health care in the United States will be forever changed by this new legislation, and after a few years America will know whether this was a positive or negative decision.  The Magnitude of Change

Three major changes will be most noticeable during healthcare reform. The first notable change of the new legislation is The Affordable Care Act, which became law on March 23, 2010. This is the pinnacle of the legislation, and puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over four years and beyond, with most changes taking place by 2014 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). The second notable change in the legislation is the extension of health care coverage for young adults, and will become effective on September 23, 2010. Until this change, most young adults could only stay on their parents insurance until the age of 19. Under the new law, young adults will be allowed to stay on their parents plan until they turn 26 years old (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). The third notable change that will also happen as of September 23, 2010, will be the end of discrimination and limits with health insurance coverage. Until this change, insurance companies could deny people with pre-existing conditions, put limits on hospital stays, and annual limits. Under the new law insurance companies will be prohibited from imposing the above benefits (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,...
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