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The Past, Present and Future of Healthcare Policy

The current healthcare system is in a state of transformation. We are moving from a very profit heavy system to a more widespread coverage system. Many people know that things are changing and many people are scared of change. Knowing the facts of where our current healthcare system is heading, can help foster a levelheaded opinion if not bring ease to your mind.

Future-of-healthcare

Where Healthcare Has Been

Like with any system, new or old, our past healthcare system had its flaws. Everyone knows that insurance is expensive. If you were not a part of a large company that offered healthcare, then your insurance premiums were more than likely astronomical. Another problem is the face that if you had any prior health issues terminal or not, it was very hard for you to obtain insurance from a provider. Even if these illnesses stemmed from an accident or birth condition, it was still difficult to get coverage.

Your health insurance could also drop you if they found out about another health condition that you had, that you might not have known about. They could also pick and choose which kind of laboratory work they would cover. With this type of system, insurance companies just trying to maximize profits and minimizing risks, there were over 44 million Americans left without insurance.

With a number that large, it is clear that a reform was needed.

Where Healthcare Is Going

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or more commonly known as ObamaCare, was signed into law on March 23rd, 2010. This was obviously in response to the millions of ordinary, not just lower class, people who were in desperate need of health insurance.

The Affordable care act has four main goals, that if executed correctly could bring our healthcare system up to par with the other first world countries.

#1. Affordable Care for Everyone

Yes, it is that obvious. Something that sounds like it should already be in place is not. If you are happy with your current insurance provider, you are more than welcomed to keep them, but if you are not there is a subsidized insurance market. Upon further research, nobody can be denied healthcare coverage on the marketplace for health related reasons. And this coverage will stay with you no matter if you lose your job or move.

#2. Lower Healthcare Costs

Why is this important? In 2012 Americans spent $2.7 trillion dollars on healthcare. This is more than our government spends on education, military, and infrastructure. The reform will change the way hospitals are paid. They will not just be paid according to the length of their stay but also according to the quality of care given. So hospitals and other care givers will hopefully start providing a quicker, more efficient, and overall better treatment. Also by more people having insurance coverage, fewer uninsured people will use the emergency room like a general practitioner’s office, leaving the government to foot the bill.

#3. Make Medicare More Efficient

The focus here is that money will be better monitored and distributed to Medicare instead of being given to the insurance companies. This reform will also try to lower the costs of necessary medicines for the elderly people on Medicare. This will also help to hopefully sustain Medicare in the long run so that our generation will be able to enjoy the same benefits that today’s Medicare has to offer.

#4. Hold Insurance Companies Responsible

Insurance is a very lucrative field. The way it works is that millions of people pool their money together, and when one of those people visits the hospital or goes to the doctor; the money in the collective pool pays for their fee. In order for insurance companies to maximize their profits, they hold the right to deny paying for some medical procedures and tests. The Affordable Care Act hopes to stop insurance companies from denying payment and hold them to a higher standard. You will no longer be charged a higher premium if you get sick and they will not be able to drop your coverage if you get sick.

All in all, you should not go broke trying to stay healthy. It will take awhile for this new reform to start running smoothly, but in the long run it will be beneficial for the majority of people.

Image courtesy of cognoscape.com

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