Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
In March of 2010, President Barack Obama’s administration enacted one of the
most significant expansions of the U.S. healthcare system in history. The PPACA’s
(Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) purpose was to provide improvements in
healthcare coverage for all Americans. In the following paragraphs, I will provide a brief
purpose, history, and description of the PPACA law, compare and contrast media reports,
and give my opinion of the law and how I feel it will affect our health system.
Every American deserves to have access to a medical provider when medical
services are needed. This is the sole purpose of the PPACA law. The ACA (Affordable
Care Act) provides all Americans with the proper tools to make informed decisions about
the health (The Health Care Law, 2010). This means regulating the relationships among
insurance providers, businesses, those insured, and helps individuals with pre-existing
medical conditions. It reduces premium costs for millions of working families and small
businesses by providing hundreds of billions of dollars in tax relief – the largest middle
class tax cut for health care in history. It also reduces what families will have to pay for
health care by capping out-of-pocket expenses and requiring preventive care to be fully
covered without any out-of-pocket expense (Read the law, n.d.). Americans without
coverage are able to make choices of which coverage works best for them. Business
owners are offered a tax credit to help offset the cost of covering their employees with
the insurance exchange. Insurance companies must provide clear-cut rules for people and
are banned from denying coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
If fully implemented, the coverage mandates, expansions of Medicaid, subsidized
insurance premiums, and other reforms under the ACA are expected to reduce the
number of uninsured by over 30 million people nationwide by 2019 (Begley, Le, Lairson,
Hanks, & Omojasola, 2012). The PPACA addresses consumer protections, the role of
employer-provided insurance coverage and government’s role in providing health care
access for the most vulnerable populations. As examples (Henry J Kaiser Family
For consumers, the Act removes financial barriers to preventative care, bars
insurance policy rejections due to pre-existing conditions, and prohibits lifetime
insurance coverage limits and coverage cancellations due to serious illness.
For employers, the Act authorizes tax credits of up to 35% of premiums to make
employee coverage more affordable and authorizes a temporary reinsurance
program to offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide
health benefits for retirees 55-64 years of age.
For the most vulnerable populations, the Act expands Medicaid coverage to all
non-Medicare eligible individuals under 65 years of age with incomes up to 133%
of the federal poverty level.
Major objectives of the PPACA addressing groundbreaking efforts include (Henry J.
Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012):
Requirement that all individuals have health insurance by 2014 with some
Expansion of public programs’ eligibility including Medicaid, Children’s Health
Insurance, and payment increase to primary care physicians for Medicaid services
to equal Medicare payments
States’ creation of Health Benefit Exchanges for individuals and small employers
to provide consumers with information that enables their choosing among
alternative health insurance policies
Insurance market regulations that prevent insurers from denying coverage for any
reason, and from charging higher premiums based on health status and gender
Assessment of a $2000 per employee fee to employers of more than 50 employees
if they do not off health insurance coverage and if they have at least one employee
receiving a premium credit through the exchange. Additional rules apply for
employers who do not offer health insurance.
There is no definitive side in the media of the health reform. Some individuals
agree that the Act will be beneficial to the American public, “I would ask you to think
long and hard about the people who will suffer and die down the road, because we let
healthcare reform die in the Election of 2012,” (Schoettes, 2012); While the other side
argues that it will only create more harm than good, “As a result, the tax hikes in PPACA
will slow economic growth, reduce employment, and suppress wages. These economy-
slowing policies could not come at a worse time. PPACA tax increases will impede an
already staggering recovery,” (Dubay, 2011).
Personally, I feel that the PPACA is very beneficial to the American public. I am
one of the few Americans who have suffered years of neglecting my medical conditions
because I have not had financial means of paying for advice and care. I am currently
on MPW (Medicaid for Pregnant Women) and without my child’s life would hang in
the balance. I cannot afford all of the medical costs that are incurred with pregnancy.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have recently fully accessed the care of my MPW
by having oral surgery to remove wisdom teeth that should have been removed years
ago. Unfortunately, in a few short months this benefit with expire with the birth of my
child and I will be back at square one. This means having to be extremely careful about
avoiding germs and bacteria to prevent illnesses.
Looking into the future, I see many conflicts still arising with the PPACA.
However, I have to think that down the road more Americans will be able to see how
beneficial the Act can be to all Americans, not just specific populations. Individuals
that are neglecting medical conditions that are potentially harmful to the public can
seek medical advice and care without feeling beneath others. Those who do not wish to
partake in the Act can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that when they are around lower
income individuals, the risk of catching diseases and illnesses are less likely.
In conclusion, the PPACA has and will continue to provide improvements to
all American’s health. As we looked at the purpose, history and description of the Act,
we saw the various changes that have been implemented. We looked at how the media
compares and contrast with governmental foresights of the reform and why I think that
the PPACA will only continue to benefit the American people. Hopefully in the future,
more Americans will back the PPACA and understand just how crucial it is for those less