We have all heard the adage, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Hopefully this will not be the case for the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The first attempt for health care reform started as far back as President Roosevelt in the New Deal Era.1 Many presidents have tried and have also failed. What was so different about this legislation that allowed it to pass? This paper will discuss what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provides for Americans, as well as the unintended consequences that may happen because of the act. Using the National Scorecard on U.S. Healthcare System Performance6, we will see how the U.S. compares to other countries. Lastly, we will take a look at the newly formed National Prevention Council, and the National Prevention Strategy, and its plan for moving health care from one of sickness to wellness.4
What is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law in March of 2010. President Obama has done what others before him could not. I do think he borrowed ideas from Hillary Clinton’s, 2006, “Wellness Trust Act (Wellness Trust), Senator Tom Harkin’s, Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention Act of 2007, and his Healthy Workforce Act of 2007, as well as Senator Max Baucus’s, 2009 paper entitled, “Call to Action: Health Reform 2009”. 2 After reading the sincerity of these politicians and their staff, I did gain a more respectful attitude toward their efforts. Before my research, I thought all members of Congress just sat around all day and argued with each other.
If you paid any attention to the presidential debates, you would soon realize the Republicans and the Democrats offer different views on the purpose of the bill and what it means for the people. The Republicans saw this bill as another way for President Obama to “rob from the rich” and “give to the poor”. They felt that his agenda was more about nationalizing healthcare, and moving our country in the direction of socialism. The Republicans mantra was, it was a bad bill that would have “death panels” deciding who should live and who should die. The Democrats position was one that stated everyone would have access to free or affordable healthcare. A 2009, USA Today article written by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer proclaimed, “Free mammograms, diabetes tests, and checkups for all”.3 They also stated that prevention would not only make us a healthier nation but would also save money.3 Just listening to these two opposing arguments leaves one with more questions than answers. I am in a conundrum, because I am a fiscal conservative, when it comes to matters of money, and a bleeding heart liberal when it comes to social issues. My research for this paper has enabled me to look at the issues from both sides of the congressional isle.
As stated above, I was left with more questions than answers. My first question was why we needed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Why fix something that isn’t broken? I thought that everyone had access to some form of healthcare. I was familiar with Medicaid and Medicare. Living in Orlando, I am familiar with the community based centers for the poor, such as Shepard’s Hope and Grace Medical Home. I have worked in an emergency room and have seen the numbers of patients with no insurance, who are never turned away. I personally have had the experience of owning a company with employees, and paying for their group insurance policies. After selling my company I did get a “rude awakening” to how expensive it is to buy private individual insurance, but I bought it anyway, thinking that was my best option. After educating myself, I now realize that what I described above is not optimal or acceptable....