The need for an efficient and economical way to make health insurance coverage available to all people is a goal that many have pursued, but few have succeeded at reaching. Finding a way to balance the individual healthcare needs of individuals with the national and state budgets, as well as working with insurance companies and healthcare providers, often leads to solutions only for some.
The Affordable Care Act has been the most recent attempt to solve the problem of individuals and families falling through the gaps in insurance coverage. Commonly known as “Obamacare” the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, sought to solve the healthcare problem by ensuring that everyone was insured, either through purchased policies or through government-funded programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. The jury is still out as to the complete success of the law, and the entire Obamacare/ health care issue has become an intensely partisan one. On one hand, Democratic legislators want the current ACA to stand as it is, or even to expand further, especially as regards Medicaid. On the contrary, Republican lawmakers seek to repeal the law, replacing it with more personalized plans for people such as health savings accounts, as well as lifting regulations and restrictions on the insurance market to help lower costs.
When it comes to the ACA, there are plenty of opinions on either side, but it comes to health care leaders, a recent study shows that the majority are speaking out for Obamacare.
What Healthcare CEOs Say
According to a recent poll conducted by Modern Healthcare, over two-thirds of the nation’s top healthcare leaders support the ACA and want to see the continued push for providers to offer more value-based care. The CEO panel polled, which included CEOs from hospitals, physician groups, insurance companies and trade organizations, as well as some top leaders from not-for-profit advocacy groups, concluded that the “repeal and replace” mentality of the Republican Party, as well as their presumptive nominee Donald Trump, was not feasible. They believed that the healthcare industry had endured enough change since the implementation of Obamacare and that deconstructing what has been established without any clear plan as to what would replace it was not acceptable.
On the other hand, this same group of CEOs also expressed no interest in the single-payer system popular with Far-Left Democrats such as presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Though the response to his campaign, and his view that health insurance should be complete paid-for by the government, healthcare leaders want the quality and availability of care to be a priority. While single-payer systems are in effect in several countries around the world, the effectiveness and positives of this type of healthcare system are often overshadowed by long lines, excessive wait times for appointments and even for life-saving treatments.
Overwhelmingly, the poll of these healthcare leaders indicated that they want the ACA to remain in effect after the next president, and Congress are sworn in. However, these same CEOs want the new leadership to reject any kind of complacency and start looking for ways to improve the existing law rather than pulling it and starting from scratch again.
What Consumers Say
Many of the CEOs expressed the belief that a single-payer would not succeed in the US at this time because the American people valued their ability to choose too highly. A recent Gallup Poll, however, indicates that may not be entirely accurate. According to the poll, 58% of Americans were for the creation of a health insurance coverage program entirely funded by the Federal government.
Americans appear to be happy with the ACA, however. Of the Americans polled, two-thirds indicated in their responses that they found their experience with the ACA to be a good one and that their health insurance coverage purchased or acquired through the marketplace was either good or excellent.
In the private sector, however, not everyone is as happy. Many CEOs of leading US companies are expressing anger at some of the provisions of the ACA. Most of these businesses had backed the ACA from the beginning, in part because of the law’s provisions for wellness programs. Wellness programs aim to control the cost of health care through preventative measures, such as stop-smoking programs, obesity programs, and in-house fitness and nutrition counseling. Unfortunately, some recent lawsuits challenging the wellness programs implemented at several companies have caused many large employers to consider aligning themselves with those opposed to Obamacare.
There are also many Americans who have not been entirely satisfied with the effects Obamacare has had on the healthcare and insurance industry. For many families and individuals, the costs of procuring health insurance for themselves has increased, with higher monthly payments and deductibles. Going uninsured is not possible, as the penalties for not having medical insurance run into the thousands. Many individuals and families have also found themselves shunted on to the Medicaid rolls, unable to cover high premiums or afford the fines for lack of coverage. Prescription drug coverage for everything from heart medications to erectile dysfunction drugs is also a major issue and concerns for average Americans, and an area where improvements need to be made.
The opinions and positions on the Affordable Care Act are numerous and varied. A partisan issue that crosses the barriers of race and class, the ability to purchase good quality health insurance is one that all Americans want. For healthcare CEOs, finding a way to move forward with the current law is a priority. The effects of the implementation of Obamacare are still rippling through the healthcare industry in the US, leaving positives and negatives in their wake. As the next election looms, and the possibility of changes to the ACA linger in the rhetorical air, healthcare leaders hope that finding ways for the ACA to continue and succeed will take precedence over partisan politics.
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