Let’s admit it – the healthcare system in US has always been pretty. Typically, people with the most need of health insurance are the ones who are uninsured, and the ones with insurance tend to overload the system with unnecessary medical procedures. However, with Obamacare, things are looking brighter than before. The healthcare system is progressing in the right direction, and it looks like a bolstered approach of the ACA can fix a lot of gaps in the healthcare system. Here are the top three things that Obamacare is fixing in our healthcare system.
1) Balancing the Insurance Pool with New Enrollees – Before the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance remained out of reach for low and middle income families, who ultimately relied on emergency services for their health services. With the advent of the ACA, these families have received a strong boost that has helped them gain health insurance coverage. The Obamacare subsidies have connected these families to affordable coverage, and that is ultimately helping the healthcare system by removing the gap between those who have insurance but don’t need it, and those who need insurance but cannot afford it. Through this move, Obamacare has also eliminated the misuse of insurance policies for unneeded medical procedures and has directed that doctor bandwidth to care for patients who actually need healthcare. Instead of several overpaid specialists in the field of medicine, this pool balancing is also making primary care a pivotal field in medical science, finally getting students to move toward the field without thinking about remunerations.
2) Killing Medical Discrepancy and Resulting Mistakes – Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of deaths in the U.S. When a patient changes doctors, he is subject to repetition of tests and diagnosis. With Obamacare, a coordinated approach to patient care is now possible. When patients approach these services through their health plan, the patient can be addressed by in-network doctors, who are ultimately connected and share the diagnosis details. This, in turn, removes the chances of discrepancy in tests, diagnosis, and treatment, and can help the system by reducing deaths through medical mistakes. The concept of EHR increases this transparency. As of now, doctors are crippling the system by repeatedly prescribing high value tests that are reimbursed at high costs. With reduced discrepancy, the system can save millions of dollars by eliminating unnecessary, recurrent testing.
3) Incentivizing Better Health Habits and Wellness Programs – An additional benefit of the Affordable Care Act is the value attached to better health habits. The Affordable Care Act penalizes people who use tobacco through higher insurance premiums. On the other hand, for organizations that support wellness programs at workplace, the Affordable Care Act has a clause that provides them tax benefits for money contributed toward employee healthcare. The ACA believes that by spending on public health and wellness programs, the nation can remove the most common issues, which cause medical problems, ultimately relieving pressure from a struggling healthcare system. From a reactive care system, we can move to a preventive care system, and save a whole lot of money in the process. If the people start spending equally on exercise and diet, we can fix the reasons that affect 80 percent of our health.
The Affordable Care Act is already making strong progress in fixing the system through these facets of the law. However, there is still a lot more that can be done to bolster the system further. For instance, hospital and doctor pricing can be made more transparent, just like health insurance plans. Patients should take more control over care and work with their doctors to determine the right level of care. But we are making progress.