The Affordable Care Act

Question 1

Affordable Care Act is a policy formulated to enable the citizens of the United State to acquire healthcare at a minimum cost price (Pariser DM, 151). However, a lot of criticism has been made about this act. Regardless of these serious critics made, there are many reputable benefits that the Affordable Healthcare Act has brought about. This paper discusses the advantages, disadvantages and the extent of manifestation of social determinants in the Affordable Care Act and the opinion on government’s responsibility in improving health care.

The most important benefit of the act is that it has managed to minimize and slow the rate of increase in the healthcare cost. Millions of the United States citizens are provided with insurance cover and offered preventive care at no cost (Pariser DM, 152). In essence, with the aid of this act, people can now be treated thus preventing the illness from advancing until it requires an expensive emergency service. Nonetheless, it was evident in 2016 when a 1.2% increase in healthcare services charges were reported which is less than 4% increase in 2004 (Pariser DM,152). To the advantage of the uninsured healthcare consumers in the United States, they are now able to receive health insurance for free or at an affordable cost. The Affordable Health Act has been advantageous to the people as it makes it easy to access various health insurance alternatives since it provides an online platform referred to as exchanges where one can choose suitable health insurance from various options.

Nevertheless, the Affordable Care Act has been found to pose some disadvantages. The “Individual Mandate” is the part of the act that has raised numerous criticisms. The individual mandate in the act which makes it a requirement for the people of United States to purchase health insurance plans and failure to do so will attract a payable tax penalty (Pariser DM ,153). This has subjected the United States citizens to a mandatory purchase of insurance not at their will creating inconvenience to some people especially the poor.

The Affordable Care Act, however, faces more criticism for promising that it will allow individuals to retain their current health plans. To a surprise, 3 main health insurers have withdrawn from the exchanges thus rendering those who had purchased insurance plans from them being uninsured and left with no other alternative but to seek in health insurance plans from other health insurance providers since it is a requirement that every individual have a health insurance plan (Pariser DM ,154). Moreover, the cost of premiums increased since competition lacked in the health insurance marketplace due to the fall out of the 3 main health insurers.

The act is established aiming to healthcare of the United States while taking into consideration health disparities resulting from social inequalities which are the major source of social determinants (“Chapter 7 – Social Determinants of Health”). The act recognizes that social determiners of health impacts disadvantaged communities differently, therefore as a mitigation, the act has provided funds to empower individuals and communities yet an integral, proactive system to address these social determinants of health are absent. Therefore, I think the Affordable Care has reflected the concept of social determinants of health to some extent but more need to be done to achieve more out of it.

Question 2

I think the government has the responsibility of ensuring improvement of healthcare quality at the local, state and federal level. The government should be in charge of purchasing healthcare facilities and making supplements of public and social commodities. Just like any other purchaser, the government is responsible for purchasing based on the value and not just the total cost (Tang et al. ,47). The government should adopt the use of Consumer Assessment of Health Plan Survey, a tool which helps the government health purchasers to make appropriate choices when purchasing health facilities.

Moreover, it should be the mandate of the government to step up and assist the disadvantaged by providing them free health care. Since the government is in operation of hospitals and offers employment to health practitioners, the government, therefore, has the mandate to establish programs that facilitate clinical guidance to ensure high-quality care is provided (Tang et al. ,48).  These clinical guidelines enable the government to regulate treatment, enhance health care quality, and minimize the healthcare cost.

The government should assume the role of increasing access to care for the entire population by use of tax exemptions. This facilitates employers to provide health care coverage for their employees due to the subsidy (Tang et al. ,48). However, in the disadvantaged population, the government should provide supportive projects like local health facilities which offer care for that population. The government is the primary purchaser of these facilities and as well in charge of maintaining the standards of health and safety. These standards will make sure that quality care is given to the beneficiaries.

To improve healthcare, healthcare markets need to be regulated. The government is in charge of regulation of these markets as the limitation and of entry and exit to the market with the aid of licensing laws (Tang et al. ,49). Without regulation of these markets, some buyers and sellers can alter the price thus being able to bring about demand which does not happen in a normal regularized market. The government, however, has the responsibility to set up laws for regulating health care markets which will in turn help in healthcare quality improvement.

Efforts from scientific research need to be backed up by the government in order to achieve health care improvement. Various scientific research in medicine spurs concern for healthcare improvement. Organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exists to carry out scientific research which helps the government to meet its role by providing health care information, entailing health care access, quality, and cost (Tang et al. ,48). Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to support these research institutions together with their newly acquired scientific knowledge for the government to meet its responsibilities. Essentially, the government is of last resort in the improvement of health care.