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Many people consider the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as one of the most influential changes to have taken place in America's healthcare system since the medical care program reforms began in 1965 (Rosenbaum, 2011). It is alternatively known as federal health reform or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Act has several provisions with specified implementation timelines.
The first significant provision of the law is it aims to cover approximately 32 million uninsured citizens through the expansion of the available insurance to the public and private sectors (Rosenbaum, 2011). All employers would be compelled to cover their employees; insurance purchasing will be made accessible and also enhance consumer protection.
Secondly, the Act increases consumer insurance protections, for instance, extending coverage to children with preexisting conditions (Sorrell, 2012). It also offers a stage where customers can air any grievances and preventing the banning of insurance covers unless in rare cases of fraud.
Thirdly, the Act provides several tools meant to prevent illness, for example, the Prevention and Public Health Fund to fund American states for prevention programs (Rosenbaum, 2011). It also boosts the Medicare provision for particular preventive services, among others.
Fourth, the ACA has provisions to lift the healthcare system performance and quality such as investment in health-related IT, innovation in care coordination between the concerned stakeholders and data collection, analysis and reporting for healthcare improvement.
On the side of workers, it promotes workforce development through reforming the medical training and increasing scholarships in the medical field. Last but not least, the act intends to cut rising health care costs (Rosenbaum, 2011). The Act plans to implement this through emphasizing on prevention and effective treatment.
Several provisions found in the Act were initially established and applied by various states in a bid to reform the healthcare system while spreading service delivery to more citizens. Some critical states that pioneered insurance reforms include Utah and Massachusetts (Scutchfield & Keck, 2009). This implies that their experience in the implementation of their efforts will aid in implementing the federal ACA. The act will also assist many children under 19 living with preexisting conditions. Many adults under 26 who were initially unable to acquire insurance for various reasons will be covered under their parents plans.
On the healthcare system side, it will be swift in operation, due to improvement programs and the inclusion of information technology training to improve the healthcare systems. Additionally, the act will be a relief to most citizens who may not be in the position to take preventive measures against any diseases (Scutchfield & Keck, 2009). The overall effect of this act is that the healthcare systems will massively improve in service provision and efficiency. The initial insurance company barriers for any medical emergencies will become a thing of the past.
On the downside, the already overstretched workforce may not be in a position to handle the projected surge in patients in the various healthcare centers (Rosenbaum, 2011). Additionally, training programs may take long to implement hence it may cause citizens to wait longer before the act is executed.
The future of the act is uncertain. It is projected that regulatory burdens are prone to increase hence destabilizing the health care industry. The current situation has an extreme insufficiency especially in the specialist personnel (Sorrell, 2012). This implies that while the consumers have something to smile about, it may take a long time for the Act to be fully implemented. All in all, the Act will enhance the perception on stakeholders that healthcare is not a privilege but a right to everyone (Sorrell, 2012). Henceforth, the act symbolizes overall moral significance on healthcare.
Rosenbaum, S. (2011). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Implications for Public Health Policy and Practice. Public Health Reports, 126(1), 130135.
Scutchfield, F, D, & Keck, C. W. (2009). Principles of Public Health Practice (3rd Ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar/Cengage Publishing.
Sorrell, J. (2012). "Ethics: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Ethical Perspectives in 21st Century Health Care" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(1).
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