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Month: September 2016

The ACA & Public Health

The ACA & Public Health

In President Obama’s JAMA article, I was particularly fascinated by all the details and statistics that he provided with regard to the progress of the Affordable Care Act and the effect that it has had on Americans. I was surprised that he himself wrote it (note author credentials – Barack Obama, JD); the extensive amount of information as well as the weight of critical thinking and analysis that many individuals, not only the President himself, have undergone to produce this report demonstrates that research has been productively dissected to explain the impact of the ACA. Without always agreeing with the President, I appreciate his goal of providing quality healthcare to all Americans as health and wellness is an important issue in our modern society.

This coming election season, I am worried about both candidates, to be honest. I understand their goals of improving the welfare of all Americans, and much of the time, the hyperpolarization in Congress or politics, for that matter, does not stem from a lack of a common goal, but rather a disconnect in the means through which a particular goal is accomplished. Secretary Clinton has made her support for the ACA and Medicaid expansion undeniably explicit; while I do agree with certain fundamental portions of the ACA, I regret to endorse the restrictions that it directly imposes on insurance industries and individual freedoms. Many pharmaceutical and insurance industries do manipulate the American populace. Our focus should not be directed in condemning these industries but rather in devising solutions to such manipulations, thinking about ways in which the American people can work together to allow private enterprises and the American public to coexist in a firm space from which to build toward a better future. Mr. Trump, on the contrary, has been an outspoken critic of the ACA. I do agree with his arguments as well regarding the overextension of government in state and private affairs; such ideas are linked to the Tenth Amendment in our Bill of Rights. It is a grave crime to leave millions of underprivileged Americans uninsured, but it is a grave crime to point fingers at parties and companies or force individuals or businesses to destroy their respective practices. In addition, consideration must be offered to the thousands of our Americans neighbors and friends who work in the healthcare industry such as nurses, physicians, public health officials, social workers, physical/occupational therapists, dentists, medical technicians, who will suffer losses in income due to the government’s underpaying of customer costs in comparison to payment of private insurance agencies. The ACA has mandated restrictions which show angelic and diabolical appearances; the job of all Americans is to work comprehensively and collaboratively to uphold charity, freedom, equity, and justice in our healthcare system.

Healthcare should be reformed to a simpler, more effective means that slashes overbearing governmental regulations and red tape and makes individual insurance accessible to every American. First, I think we should start to do away with the whole employer-based coverage and make the connection between insurers and individuals. Thus, the penalties should be eradicated for business who choose not to offer health care because they will not offer insurance – this change will protect the integrity of businesses. Next, the individual mandate should be done away with. Whoever wants to purchase insurance will contact an insurance company and determine what insurance works best for them. nevertheless, checks should be made on these companies to make sure that manipulation or inflation of insurance rates remains affordable for all Americans.

IMPROVING OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

IMPROVING OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

JAMA published an article written by President Barack Obama titled “United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Data and Next Steps.” In this summarized dissertation, President Obama outlines the ways in which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has succeeded and additional progress that’s needed. What caught my attention the most from this article is the prevalence of political tensions regarding the ACA and our healthcare system. For example, Obama asserts that 19 out of 50 states, as of July 1st this year, have not agreed to broaden their Medicaid programs. Also, he releases that, although his administration succeeded in passing 19 bills in support of aspects of the ACA, it has fought over 60 bills threatening to remove the ACA. The Republican Party has been shown to oppose the ACA is numerous other ways as well. The conflicting views of our nation is a major impediment to advancement of health care in the United States.

President Obama specifically warns our nation to work to improve the ACA along with other aspects of our healthcare system. Donald Trump, supporting the Republican Party, advocates removing Obamacare and all of the progress the law has made since 2010. He attacks the aspects of our healthcare system that the ACA has failed to address, which are increasing premium costs and decreasing quality for patients during medical visits. His problem with the ACA seems to be that it hasn’t done enough, which Obama asserts that further improvements require an incremental approach. Trump simply proposes, for his health care reform, that citizens use Health-Savings Accounts, but HSAs have already been implemented. This and other inconsistencies involved with Trump’s health care reform platform is troublesome, eventually if he becomes president. I believe that Clinton has a more effective approach; she advocates Obama’s work in health care reform and proposes to further health care progress began by President Truman.

Two improvements that need to be made to the U.S health care system are expanding health care insurance to provide for people who can’t afford it, and improving the quality of care. Obama addresses the first of this issues by claiming that citizens may not be aware of the financial benefits involved with the ACA or simply need more financial assistance. The second issue is a direct product of the ACA. Because the ACA promotes more insured Americans, hospitals and clinics receive more patients. The huge increase in number of patients compared to a much slower increase in medical professionals is a problem.

 

One Giant Leap For Mankind

One Giant Leap For Mankind

The Journal of American Medical Association recently published an article with President Barack Obama as the author. In the Article, President Barack Obama discusses and reflects on his health care laws. Obama points out an interesting fact that since the Affordable Care Act the amount of non-insured people have declined by 43%, from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2015. He also goes on to say that elderly men and women have gained access to health insurance through the expansion of Medicaid and this in turn reduced the debt by $600 to $1000. Obama states that there is still work to be done-which is true-and we should increase the competition in the marketplace and provide Medicare where there aren’t as many insurance providers to keep the costs low. Even though there is much debate on whether it was appropriate to let Obama publish his article on a medical journal, I thought it was very interesting and gave regular citizens like me a deeper look into the progress and impact of the Affordable Care Act.

Seventy years later we have seen such a huge amount of progress in Healthcare. What worries me is that if Donald Trump becomes president, he wants to take Obamacare and replace it with a Health Savings Account (HSA). What worries me with Donald Trump’s approach is that since it took us 70 years to progress in Healthcare, taking away Obamacare all together could push the country in the opposite direction. Right now we are still working on Healthcare, but if Donald Trump becomes President then we will be starting from square one. The country would have to start from the beginning and it might take another 70 years to get to where we are today. In my opinion we should keep working with Obamacare and except for repealing it all together, find solutions to the problems it has and improve it.

Two improvements that can be made in the healthcare system is first finding an easier way to access all the information on different insurance companies and finding a plan that fits best and second, find a way to keep people healthy rather than just treating them when sick. First we need to change our mind from seeing healthcare as a business, and looking at it as a basic human right that should be given to anyone. I believe that all political members need to put pride aside and find out the best plan for the good of the people and not their pockets.  

The Ongoing Struggle

The Ongoing Struggle

Before Thursday’s class I had already been given a lot of education on a lot of what was presented. I found it interesting that it had been brought up again. My parents always hear my rants on the need and struggle to reform the health care system. I feel as though the biggest struggle that was presented through the videos and the history would be the conflict of opposing ideas. I do not know about all of you, but no matter what you believe there is going to be someone out there that does not agree. I thought there were great ideas from some politicians that were shot down by groups of the opposing political party. I think that is seen a lot with the candidates today. Our generation will be one of the most politically involved, which is nothing bad at all. I hope everyone learned more and that everyone develops their own opinions whether they are the same or not.

I believe that the biggest failure we have in health care reform is our ambition. We Americans can get caught up in what we want and our minds can go a hundred miles per hour with our great ideas. Sometimes there needs to be smaller steps in order to reach a bigger goal. Maybe the opposing party in Congress would be more willing to pass laws that were slower in their progression. Nobody wants to jump right in to health care that is socialized. I would say that the biggest failure would have to be during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Of course there were several other attempts, but a card that guarantees health care to all definitely had a red flag to the Republicans. There was less advocating for how it would be achieved and once it was given to Hillary Clinton the issue died off again. There was a lot of follow through to an end goal due to other issues or the fact that it was no longer the presidents time in office.

Though the struggle for reform has been a long one with many failures, there has been recent success. “Obamacare” or the Affordable Care Act would have to be the biggest success. Yes, a lot of you read this and may believe “how do you believe that?” There are faults in the act, but the fact that it has been published is the biggest success in any reform. The fact that there is any change in the first place is something to be thankful for. Now that it is actually a part of the system now, it can be changed and altered. There isn’t a need to draw up anything from scratch and to continue such a long process once again. I think it’s pretty significant that we are living through this because just as it was said in class, it has been a very long process.

Troubled Past and a Bright Future

Troubled Past and a Bright Future

The biggest challenge as the U.S. has tried to improve our health care system is the strong opposition against it. President Truman believed healthcare was a basic right, and he was the one who shaped the healthcare system. John F. Kennedy came after Truman stating the healthcare is for American seniors medicine insurance should be provided for the elderly. Kennedy appealed to Americans to urge the legislature but met strong opposition from the Medical Association who did not agree with John F. Kennedy. President Johnson continued JFK’s work and formed an alliance with Wilbur Mills-who cut the deal with John F. Kennedy-and passed his bill establishing Medicare and Medicaid. From 1968-1980 Nixon, Ford, and Carter were trying to expand healthcare to low income families and had the idea that healthcare should emphasize keeping people well, not just making people well. Opposition and change in leaders caused the healthcare reform to take 70 years. These factors made it challenging to improve our healthcare system.

The biggest failure is the inability to compromise on the issue. There is so much strong opposition that no change can be made. If legislature could get together and put aside their differences, then we would be able to make some progress. Not only do we have to agree on these changes, but we have to make it accessible to the citizens. Obtaining Medicare or Medicaid should not be difficult. The process should be easy and quick.

One of the successes in healthcare was President Johnson being able to pass his bill and establish Medicare and Medicaid. Another success was the establishment of the Affordable Care Act which expanded healthcare insurance to the poor. Because of this billions were able to access affordable insurance and this saved countless lives.

Healthcare: Past, Present, and Future

Healthcare: Past, Present, and Future

The biggest challenges our nation faces in improving our healthcare system is disunity in our government. There are countless examples of healthcare bills not passing because Congress disagreed or the president vetoed the bill. The process of improving and updating healthcare laws is slow and tedious, with extremely similar bills failing multiple times before passing.

I believe the biggest failure of the reform was Truman’s failure to pass a national insurance program. A large reason for the failure was the American Medical Association’s constant attacks on his plan. Their creation of propaganda against the program, presenting it as “socialized medicine”, turned public opinion against the bill. Nothing similar to it would get passed for another twenty years with Johnson’s administration. It would have revolutionized the healthcare system years ahead of schedule, insuring millions.

The most significant success is the most recent passing of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. It brought together the work of decades of failed reforms. It is so influential because it helped insure the poor by significantly expanding Medicaid. It also raises the standards of healthcare coverage, providing additional preventive care services and keeping health professionals better in check.

As a question for commenter to ponder: what do you think is the future of U.S. healthcare reform, and how long do you think it would take to get implemented?

Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform

I believe that the biggest challenge the United States has faced regarding health care reform is the inability of political parties to cooperate on the issues.  Since Truman’s presidency, there has not really been a consistent presence of one party in the white house. Therefore, it has been tough for either party to get anything done. Both parties have insisted that they are for the improvement in health care. For example, George Bush and Barack Obama’s both wanted to reduce healthcare costs. Yet Obama still does not have the support of the republicans in the House of Representatives. If the parties would just be able to agree on certain things then the process wouldn’t become so prolonged.

The biggest failure in United States health care reform has been Clinton’s presidency. While his regime did have many ideas on what to do and how to do it, they got caught up in dreaming a little too big. Clinton’s plan was just a little too liberal for the liking for many people. Many supporters were skeptical that his administration would be able to get everything that it proposed done, along with the fact that his plan was more than scary to the regular conservatives. Allowing the first lady, Hillary Clinton, to be in charge also raised red flags for people. There is no doubt that she is qualified to have such a role, however it could lead some people to believe that he does not want to deal with the issues himself. His plan was looking towards the future, however it was too far reaching and made no progress over the course of 8 years.

I think the biggest success in health care reform was the passage of medicare by the Johnson regime. Initially proposed by Kennedy, medicare is giving health insurance to millions of elderly people to this day. It has been running for about 50 years now, and passed into law much smoother than many other healthcare policies. We would all agree that our old age is where we need insurance the most, for that is when our bodies are the most vulnerable, and it is very difficult for people to continue working at an old age, especially if their job requires anything labor inducing.

 

 

America’s Long and Troubled History of Healthcare Reform

America’s Long and Troubled History of Healthcare Reform

The healthcare industry brings together so many amazing things. As future medical professionals, we often think about the altruistic side of things – the saving of lives and the healing of the sick. However, we also have to remember that healthcare is indeed an industry, which makes it a lot more complicated. Hospitals, clinics, and essentially all other healthcare centers are businesses, and the government definitely has a huge impact on the ways in which they can be run. Our legislative and executive branches have worked on healthcare reforms fairly consistently since the nineteenth century, when a bill was first brought forward regarding how the state should handle those with disabilities. On this particular issue, both houses of Congress passed the bill, but it was ultimately vetoed by President Franklin Pierce. Ever since then, our federal government has experienced similar issues. The disunity between the branches of government, combined with frequent changes of administration have created huge hurdles for anyone hoping to pass healthcare reforms.

Take for instance President Bill Clinton. He was elected to his office with very ambitious plans to change the American healthcare system. His efforts were extremely admirable, but not necessarily handled in the best possible manner. He was very aggressive in his approach, setting out to submit a healthcare reform to Congress in just one hundred days, and putting his first lady, Hillary, in charge of it all. This act faced harsh opposition and was never even brought to a vote. Granted, Clinton did come back in his second term and supported the passing of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expanded federal health insurance to millions of America’s children. Still, his first attempt was perhaps the largest healthcare reform failure in history.

On the flip side of that, our nation has recently seen some success in healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was successfully passed on March 23, 2010. This was the culmination of so many years of attempted healthcare reform, so simply getting it passed was a huge accomplishment. While it still is far from perfect, it has definitely helped millions of people so far and has paved the road for future reforms as well.

Slow and Steady Change

Slow and Steady Change

I think the biggest challenge that health care reformers have faced in the past has simply been the fact that a significant portion of the population does not understand the health care system. For better or worse, it seems that health related issues have usually been overlooked or brushed over by politicians and the American public in favor of other topics, such as war, politics, or the economy. I know for me personally, I have never really been concerned with health care issues and until recently really had no idea of how the health system worked. Aside from children who have parents who work in the health care system or have experienced being in the health care system a lot, most children never really get taught about the American health care system the same way they are taught about financial literacy or American civics. As a result, most people don’t really have any exposure to health care unless they get really sick. A study from the National Academy of Sciences found that half of Americans were not aware of the health care exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act and that forty percent were unable to accurately explain what a “deductible” was. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those of lower income tended to have less understanding of the health care system than those of higher income, making it even more challenging for reformers. Without knowledge of how an existing system works, it is very difficult to reform that system.

My understanding of the history of American health care is limited since I am only 17, but I consider the Affordable Care Act to be the biggest failure in US health care reform. Contradictory to its name, the Affordable Care Act has actually caused the price of health insurance premiums to increase for most people. One year after its passage, costs of premiums increased 9% on average, and four years after its passage, costs had gone up 59% on individual plans. In addition, the ACA has been unable to convince many uninsured people to sign up for health care. A study in 2014 found that only a quarter of people who purchased an Obamacare plan were uninsured the year before. In addition, half of uninsured respondents said that affordability was their main reason for not purchasing insurance. Lastly, the Affordable Care Act has caused many health insurers to lose considerable amounts of money and withdraw from many states. As a result, people in Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, and other states will only have one option for health care next year.

Unlike the Affordable Care Act, I consider the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to be a success and a demonstration of the effectiveness of incremental change rather than massive overhaul. After ten years under SCHIP, the percentage of children uninsured fell greatly, even as the number of uninsured people grew. Perhaps rather than pushing for huge changes at once, health care reform could look for specific areas to target and improve on gradually.

Healthcare Reform

Healthcare Reform

I believe one of the biggest reason why healthcare reform took decades for a major change to occur is due to the popularity of the president. I think that every time a president has started their attempt at health care reform the president’s popularity has dropped due to reasons in and out of the healthcare arena. Once the popularity drops the president has other issues to face and healthcare drops as a main priority. I also think the amount of time for the process takes and the amount of approval necessary makes it extreme difficult for any change to be made. I think if the majority in the congress is of the opposite party of the president there it is more likely the president will face greater opposition in his healthcare policy.


For me, the biggest failure of U.S. healthcare reform were the attempts of Bill Clinton. He failed because he was too ambitious with his proposed policy which caused a lot of resistance. He also gave the first lady a large role in the reform which was unpopular among many Americans at the time. I think this failure is huge because the Clintons were so confident that they promised they would pass their bill yet in the end the bill never came to the floor.

 

I believe the biggest success in healthcare reform is the affordable care act because it is the first time in decades that a major reform has been made. I categorize this as success compared to other health care reforms because this was truly successful as the bill was actually passed. I do not necessarily know if this is the best step forward but I know great change has occurred.