In a recent press conference, US President Barack Obama was forced to acknowledge the reality that there are many more battles to wage with regards to the Affordable Care Act, which is popularly known as Obamacare, and the debate on this subject could go on for years. Since its inception, this law has been a target of criticism, where opponents have been proposing for its repeal. So, is the Obamacare working for the better? Let us take a look at the grounds of both sides of the argument (the following information is according to the law’s proponents and opponents).
Grounds That the Obamacare Is Working
1. The Efficiency Of The Country’s Health Care System Has Been Improved.
In addition to the widely criticized mandate penalizing Americans who are not taking out insurance, Obamacare has created a variety of programs that are aimed to rectify the inefficiency of the health system in the US. For a long period of time, Americans have been paying more, but receiving less, in terms of medical care. Now, with this trademark law by Obama, it has been noted that the rate of uninsured Americans has been falling, since the end of 2013. In fact, according to Gallup, the percentage of uninsured has decreased by 5.2 points.
Now, some efficiency measures have appeared to be working with this law. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to impose penalties to hospitals that have high rates of patient readmissions within 30 days since a patient was treated. This has been an effective financial motivation for hospitals in the country to decrease their readmission rates. Historically, higher readmission rates meant more money for hospitals, as patients would return to get more treatment that could be charged to insurance. Also, the lack of data transparency on this matter meant that these medical facilities could keep the numbers of readmissions to themselves.
2. Obamacare Has Decreased The Number Of Uninsured.
Releasing its latest data on the uninsured rate, Gallup revealed that states embracing the Affordable Care Act are seeing the biggest drops in the number of residents who are not getting some type of health care service. In fact, the 22 states that are implementing the primary provisions of the law, specifically the expansion of Medicaid eligibility requirements and the set-up of a state-level insurance marketplace, have seen uninsured rates dropping by an average of 7.1 points, which is about 2 points more than other states that are not taking such steps. The uninsured rate has even declined by 10 percentage points and above in some complying states.
3. More People Are Having Access To Health Care.
An article posted in the July issue of the “Journal of the American Medical Association” revealed a significant positive effect of the Obamacare, stating that the law is successfully connecting more people in the US to health care services, medications and physicians. As shown by survey data extrapolated from half a million Americans, since the law took effect, more of these people stated that they are now having a primary care physician, while the fewer number stated to be struggling to afford medical care.
4. Obamacare Did Not Negatively Affect Employment.
Another recently analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the health reform has not had an adverse effect on labor participation among Americans nor have substantially increases the number of part-time workers. This data debunked the right-wing talks about Obamacare being a job killer.
Grounds That the Obamacare Is Not Working
1. Obamacare Is Seen To Have Limits In Insuring All Americans.
Those who support a single-payer system state that the Obamacare cannot go far enough in insuring all Americans. There have been doubts about the law’s capability of maintaining health care that is just affordable for some families in the middle class. The health care reform brought about by this law has also appeared to be contributing to more mergers between big-shot insurers, a trend where there is no clear insight on how it will affect Americans.
2. Not All Americans Want To Buy Obamacare.
Of course, it is a fact that many Americans wanted to take out Obamacare and did. However, millions of people who enrolled through the exchanges are now having a little choice in the matter, having stripped of their preferred and existing and being forced to buy new, compliant insurance plans. Considering this finding, there is clearly a violation of one of the central pledges of the law. Also, the fact that these individuals were legally mandated to take out health care under the Affordable Care Act does not necessarily mean that they wanted to do so.
3. Its Website Is Not Working Very Well.
Within days of its launching, the Obamacare website has had a spate of glitches and errors that caused problems for thousands of consumers. Also, it was found that there are bugs in the system that are blocking newborns from being added to coverage. After these incidents, it was stated that majority of recipients of the Obamacare subsidy will be forced to pay back, at least, a portion of their taxpayer-funded assistance, due to incorrect income estimates and miscalculations. The website was supposed to be completed by late 2013, but is now still not fully built, and it is already 2015.
4. Only Americans Who Had Coverage Are Signing Up.
Of course, some of enrollees for the Obamacare were previously uninsured, but their number is just miniscule compared to the millions who were not. There has been a debate on the number of new enrollees who are touted by the present administration as already having coverage prior to the cancellation of their plans, but all the estimates so far show that it is a substantial percentage.
As both proponents and opponents to this law have their own grounds to uphold or repeal it, it seems that the debate surrounding the Obamacare has not shown any sign of cooling off, even as its policies have been constituted. Perhaps, the reason is its gradual impact on public opinion. Based on the opinions listed above, how do you feel about this health reform?