Affordable Care Act
President Obama stated in his 2016 Budget Message that “Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), cutting the uninsured rate to a record low” (Obama 1). This initiative I must commend him for.
The Affordable Care Act was enacted to make health care more affordable, accessible and of a higher quality, for families, seniors, businesses, and taxpayers alike. This includes previously uninsured Americans, and Americans who had insurance that did not provide them adequate coverage and security. The fact still remains; health insurance in the US is expensive.
In a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund on 11 nations, namely Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the United States health care system was ranked the most expensive in the world (Davis et al. 5).
Households pay too much to get health coverage and it is about time the US learns from other Countries and adopts a universal Health System which will curb the exploitation of its citizens from these Health Insurance companies. My family pays $275 in health insurance biweekly and this is even subsidized because the company matches it up. So in a month we pay $550 and the company pays $550 too. This is even a good company that my husband works for; my colleagues at work pay twice that. Aside this deduction, you have copays and yearly deductibles that you have to pay. Employers increasingly transfer costs of health insurance benefits to employees by raising premiums, reducing wages, and reducing full-time jobs (with benefits), resulting in higher unemployment and more part-time work (without benefits). This does not augur well for economic growth.
The economic well-being of citizens must be put first. If hardworking citizens are sick and cannot afford to see a Doctor, their health will deteriorate affecting their productivity which in the long run will have a negative impact on the economy.
I agree that the Affordable Care Act has been beneficial to many Americans mainly by ensuring that the citizens can easily access health facilities. This can mainly be evidenced by the significant reduction in the number of uninsured Americans after the Affordable Care Act was enacted. The number of uninsured citizens has reduced to close to 12% from a staggering 47 million people who were uninsured. It is important for the U.S. Government to learn from other sovereign states of the importance of ensuring its citizens can easily access health facilities. This can affect a country’s economy in that if the workers do not have easy access to health facilities, their productivity levels will deteriorate. This will eventually be detrimental to economic growth for the country.
Davis, Karen, Kristof Stremikis, David Squires, and Cathy Schoen. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally. The Commonwealth Fund, 2014.
Obama, Barack. “The Budget Message of the President”. Obamawhitehouse.archives.gov, 2016, obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2017/assets/message.pdf. Accessed 27 Jan. 2017.