Reform for Dummies

Health Care Reform has been a hot topic lately, for some – but it seems a majority of the United States population is still in the dark about what the Affordable Health Care act is and how it affects them?

Let’s start with the basics, health care reform is a term used when discussing extreme changes in or the creation of new policies involving health care. The affordable care act was put into place to improve access to affordable care for all and to protect the consumer from insurance companies. Why would an individual need protection from their insurance company? The Affordable Care Act prevents insurance companies from denying individuals care for pre-existing conditions, from cancelling or limiting coverage, and it actually helps to bring down health care costs.

In a nut shell the Affordable Care Act sounds great, but if that were the case we’d all be for it, right? Unfortunately there are some major drawbacks to Obamacare, besides the huge roll-out issues. Obamacare has a significant increase in costs to small businesses and potentially to insurance companies as well by limiting consumer costs. The way the Affordable Care Act is set up requires young healthy individuals to enroll to balance out the cost of care for both the ill and the elderly. Because it also prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone, there is less incentive for those without insurance to purchase a plan prior to falling ill, although not purchasing insurance could have serious financial repercussions.

The only way Obamacare can be a true success is if we all buy into it. The young must balance out the old and the healthy must balance out the sick. This is why there is the “individual mandate” penalty. The penalty is put in place to ensure everyone is contributing to healthcare costs. What will the penalty look like? The first year penalty will be 1% of yearly household income plus full payment of any health costs incurred while uninsured. The penalty will increase every year after that until the individual enrolls in an insurance plan.

Obamacare is just the beginning for healthcare reform in the United States, and how does it measure up? In a comparison between Obamacare and national Health Care in Canada, Obamacare still falls short. The main differences and disadvantages of Obamacare in the comparison are the premium cost of care for different groups, the vast differences in coverage and cost throughout the nation, and the continued number of individuals left uninsured even after Obamacares roll-out.

Is the plan perfect? It’s far from perfect, but it brings the U.S. one step closer to providing affordable care for all, and preventing health catastrophes from leading to financial crisis as well.


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