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A concept that has been driving the famous ObamaCare started as an individual mandate coupled with subsidies for the private sector insurance schemes. The Heritage Foundation was the initiator of the now famous affordable health care system in the United States. The organization is one of the biggest political and conservative thinking tanks in America. The foundation proposed the idea to counter the ‘Medical for all’ that the Clinton Administration had been pushing by then. The policy that the Clinton Administration proposed was more of a single payer initiative. Nevertheless, the Medical for all was a bit more unpopular than the ObamaCare and Governor Romney was the first leader to implement the proposal of the foundation in Massachusetts. Ever since, there has been a continued demand for an overhaul in the health care system. The health care reform took a different twist in 2008 during general election campaigns. The policy became a major political campaign tool for the Democratic Party. Many political analysts tend to agree that it might have played a critical part in the first victory of the President. Therefore, the paper summarizes an article by Varney (2014) highlighting some of the current debates around the theory of affordable health care.
A federal statute signed the affordable health care bill into law in March 2010 as part of the broader health care reform agenda that had played a critical role in the election of President Obama into office. The bill regained a new name, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law gave a green light to the implementation of various social health care provisions that would take effect over several years. Some of the provisions included establishing health insurance exchanges, prohibiting health insurance companies to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, expanding the eligibility of Medicaid among others. The office of Congressional Budget had approximated that the law would decrease the deficit of the federal government by almost $145 billion in a span of te years only. The figure translated to about 0.25% and 0.5% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The cost of implementing the healthcare would partly be offset by tax increments on items and services such as eye glasses, aids of hearing, and tanning of indoors among others (Gruber, 2011).
According to the article by Varney (2014), ex-convicts had no health insurance and had very little options of refilling for medication. Most of the inmates used to leave their jails with various health problems including mental health disorders and physical ailments. Some of these ailments were chronic e.g. hypertension, diabetes, mood disorders, depression, and even drug and alcohol addiction. Majority of these released inmates might have spent much time in prison without the health insurance cover and had probably developed medical conditions that require a swift response to stabilize their health again. Indeed there is a variety of reports confirming that the majority of inmates tend to reform and it is very unlikely that they will offend again if they get the health insurance cover, particularly those with the mental disorders and drug addiction. Some researchers also found out that former inmates were likely to get sick regularly unlike the general public. Since insurance companies considered these offenders not to be custodial parents, they were illegible for any programs of public health insurance that targeted young kids, mothers, and the disabled (Jacobs & Skocpol, 2012).
Varney (2014) notes that initially, an estimate of only 11% of ex-offenders would qualify for the healthcare after serving their sentence. However, statistics show that by the end of January 2014, the eligibility of ex-offenders had sky-rocked to over 90%. The provisions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have assisted these ex-prisoners in getting involved in the health insurance programs. More than 25 states have implemented the law including California. In fact, the experts in the health insurance industry say that over 30% of people eligible for health care cover are former detainees and inmates. In Alameda County alone, records show tthat over 18, 000 ex-convicts from the two prisons in the County will qualify for the insurance cover. The Act opened up Medicaid to even a single and the childless adult. Furthermore, the law extended the coverage of the Medicaid to protect numerous ex-offenders earning incomes below the standard poverty line that the federal government had set (Varney, 2014).
However, although the Act protects these offenders, there are also some conditions to eliminate the risk of joy riders. For example, although the federal government funds the project wholly, it does not cover for the daily medical care demands of these ex-inmates. The scheme covers only for medical care of the former convicts who have been admitted for more than 24 hours in the hospital. The reasoning behind the above statement is that such long visits to the hospitals are likely to cost much money because they may also involve sophisticated surgeries. With the implementation of the above, the country would probably save between $3 and 5$ million annually by using the off-site hospital care (Varney, 2014).
On the other hands, many studies have established that offenders tend to give false information about their marital status, home address, children and even level of income. Hence, there is an urgent need to keep up to date records of such people. A number of states including Alameda County are designing systems that would automatically register all the inmates that are eligible for the cover. The systems would also allow sharing of information among the states (Varney, 2014).
To sum up, it is prudent to note that the ObamaCare had ignited many controversies since its inception. There are many individuals who believe that the program is not sustainable while the Obama Administration and her supporters are keen to implement the project. Deducing from the above discussion, it is evident that many people including the ex-prisoners would directly benefit from The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Therefore, it is imperative for the Obama Administration to ensure that all the stakeholders implement the Act to the letter.
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