The U.S does not have a truly universal healthcare system similar to what other developed nations such as Canada have. The Affordable Care Act (2010) is perhaps the closest that America has come to having such a system. Since its implementation, the ACA has had some benefits and challenges.
First, it provides low-income earners with an affordable health care plan since it is subsidized insurance (Roland, 2017). Since its inception over 16 million persons who did not have insurance have signed up. On top of that, employers are now required to provide their employees with insurance. Second, people with pre-existing ailments are allowed to gain coverage (Roland, 2017). Before the enactment of the ACA individuals who had preexisting conditions would be turned away if they sought insurance. Third, it prevents any price discrimination based on gender. As such, insurance rates are the same for all genders. Fourth, insurance companies are required to absorb a minimum of 80 percent of their clients’ healthcare cost (Roland, 2017). This coverage makes insurance a reasonable option for many people.
Since many low-income earners have been given subsidized insurance, the insurance premiums for other individuals who are better off have increased considerably. As such, people are paying more for the increase in services. Further, the ACA makes it mandatory for people to have an insurance cover. Failure to have insurance results in a penalty (Amadeo, 2017. This makes some people feel as if the government is becoming overbearing. Additionally, the universal healthcare system increases the amount of money employers have to spend on employee welfare (Amadeo, 2017). Such an increase in expenditure puts financial pressure on businesses. Also, some companies prefer paying a fine rather than providing their employees with coverage (Amadeo, 2017). As such, many people who had insurance before the ACA lost their company-sponsored insurance cover.
Even though the ACA has brought about many benefits to the American society, there are quite some drawbacks that need to be addressed before the system can be considered a success.
Amadeo, K. (2017). Is Obamacare worth it?. Thebalance.com. Retrieved 6 February 2017, from https://www.thebalance.com/obamacare-pros-and-cons-3306059
Roland, J. (2017). The pros and cons of Obamacare. Healthline.com. Retrieved 6 February 2017, from http://www.healthline.com/health/consumer-healthcare-guide/pros-and-cons-obamacare
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