Health Care Utilization
Glorinda Pastorius, RN, MSN, CCRN
Health care reform has been a hot topic in politics for many years. The debate has escalated since the Affordable Care Act has been enacted in 2010. This act is now nicknamed “Obama Care” because it was pushed and signed by President Obama. Even the reform was signed into law, the debate continues about the benefits and problems regarding the latest legislation. What people want is access to health care. What government has to provide is information on the utilization of healthcare and how it benefits the American population.
One of the major topics of debate is whether or not the recent healthcare reform has expanded or inhibited the access to health care. In order to be able to respond to that issue, there needs to be understanding of what the recent legislation has provided or changed for health care. There are many parts to the act that will be instituted over several years. In 2010, a new Patient’s Bill of Rights went into effect, which protects consumers from the worst abuses of the insurance industry (Key Features of the Affordable Care Act, By Year). Cost-free preventative services and prevention of denials for pre-existing conditions for children was also instituted. In 2011 people with Medicare could now receive fee preventive services. There were also some corrections made to close the “donut hole” in the Medicare prescription drug program. In 2012, the goal is to improve quality and lower costs by placing Accountable Care Organizations and other programs in place to help doctors and health care providers work as a team to deliver better care. There are even more changes scheduled to take place in 2014. These changes will involve new health insurance exchanges that will allow individual and small businesses to compare health plans on a level playing field. Middle and low-income families will get tax credits that cover a portion of...
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