Healthcare Reform in the US is synonymous with Obamacare

Key Takeaway:

Obamacare has brought in sweeping reforms into the American healthcare scenario by going the extra mile. It makes far-reaching, structural changes in a number of areas.

Healthcare reform in the broadest and general sense should mean reform of the healthcare industry. This, of course, is too generic, which is why healthcare reform in the US is generally understood to mean the reforms in the healthcare industry as envisioned by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or Affordable Care Act (ACA). More popularly called Obama's Health Care Reform or Obamacare, healthcare reform in the US is more associable with these reforms.

Bringing the uninsured into the healthcare insurance net

The leitmotif of Obamacare is to bring about healthcare reform in the US by providing "affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes". The rationale on which this principle was built is that over 40 million Americans did not have healthcare insurance at the time the Act was signed into law in early 2010, the main reason being the exorbitant cost of buying health insurance. The chief purpose of this Act is to make healthcare affordable for these uninsured citizens.

The provisions suggested by Obamacare are seen as the latest and perhaps the most significant in a series of efforts and endeavors aimed at healthcare reform in the US, stretching back to decades.

Highlights of healthcare reforms in the US

These are the key points of Obamacare healthcare reform:
  • One of the biggest highpoints of healthcare reform is that insurance companies can no longer deny health insurance for pre-existing conditions
  • Insurance companies can no longer hike premium rates at will
  • Earlier, insured persons could be dropped when they reached life-time or annual limits. This practice was the cause of nearly two thirds of all bankruptcies, because annual and lifetime dollar limits did not cover costly treatments, and such persons had to meet these costs from other sources. Obamacare does away with this
  • Because government was funding private Medicare Advantage plans with the money it collected from the taxpayer money, it was funneling government money into private hands. Healthcare reform puts an end to this
  • It closes what is called the Medicaid part D prescription drug "donut hole". This was a coverage gap that was making medication unaffordable for seniors as it involved having to pay huge out-of-pocket (OOP) amounts
  • Healthcare reform closes a crucial gap in insurance payouts. Earlier, many people paid insurance and never used them; this amount is now being used to provide insurance to over 15 million Americans who find private health insurance too expensive or earn too much to qualify for Medicaid
  • Obamacare makes it easier for small businesses to offer health benefits for their employees by offering tax breaks of up to 50% on the employers' share of premium costs for employees
  • Healthcare reforms make it mandatory for America's biggest firms to offer health benefits for full-time workers, while small firms are exempted
  • Healthcare reform broadens coverage by bringing preventive measures and wellness visits into its fold with no out-of-pocket costs.
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