Affordable Care Act and the Rural American
he United States in the past month has gone through a rollercoaster ride of events, from government shutdown to fiscal cliff deadline. All of these fall short to the main focus of this paper. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect every person in the United States however; I will focus on the benefits of the ACA on the rural American. The ACA was passed in 2010. On October 1st, 2013 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act began the launch of health care exchange and by January 2014 will be in full vigor.
ACA is a new health care reform law that is also known as Obamacare. ACA is made up of four separate acts: Affordable Health Care of America Act, Patient Protection Ace, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act and the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. The ACA attempts to restructure the healthcare system by lowering the spending on healthcare and by providing Americans with inexpensive quality health insurance. The ACA will guarantee coverage and requires people to have coverage or pay a penalty. The penalties will come in form of tax penalties that will increase from year to year. ACA will require insurance to include 10 categories of essential benefits allowing for more people to get the coverage they need. ACA will limit the premium variation pending on age and existing medical conditions. Lastly, the ACA creates eight new taxes and fees paid by insurance companies that will help subsides the increase in cost for health insurance. The insurance can be purchase through state-based American Health Benefit Exchanges. I believe that he ACA will be very beneficial to the rural American. It will allow for lower costs and insurance reform that will save families money. Currently, insurance policies have lifetime limits on how much insurance companies will cover. With the ACA the insurance companies will not be allowed to drop that individual due to this limit being reached. ACA will create a cap on how much out-of-pocket expenses individuals and families will pay in the form of co-pays and deductibles.
The rural American will be able to have peace of mind that they will be able to have coverage and manage their health care costs. The ACA will also help to relieve the issue of how most rural families and seniors pay for health care. Tax credits will be in place specifically for rural Americans. Another benefit of the ACA is that it will allow for greater choices for rural Americans. The ACA will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions. Rural Americans will be able to have greater choice of insurance providers due to the creation of Exchanges. This will create competition among insurance companies and increase the choices of insurance companies in rural areas which might be dominated by one company currently. This will also allow for families to compare different health care plans and choose the plan best for them. The ACA helps rural families feel secure in the fact that they are guaranteed insurance regardless of major life changing events. ACA will bring about the opportunity to better the health care workforce. The ACA invests into the insuring high quality health care by providing greater access to doctors, nurses and facilities. It will also invest into the future of health care by providing finical incentives to individuals who, after school, go to areas in needs of health care professionals.
The ACA also looks to improve preventive care so that rural Americans can work towards better health. Preventive and wellness benefits will be provided at no charge. This is done by exempting them from deductibles and eliminating co-pays. ACA will invest into rural public health by encouraging innovations in health care that prevents illness and disease. The ACA will ensure that the health care providers in rural areas receive reimbursements quickly so that they can continue to provide care to the people in the area. This could include mammograms, blood testing and diabetic screenings. With rural America comes small business. The ACA will work with the small business to provide their employees with insurance opportunities. Tax credits are available to help make coverage more affordable. These tax credits can be anywhere from 35 % to 50%. With everything the pros and cons have to be weighted. Although I believe that the ACA will be beneficial to rural America there are several factors that need to be discussed on the negative impacts. The ACA will need to work through funding in the form of taxes. These taxes will affect high-earners and employers. The rural American, large farmers and employers will see an increase in taxes. Another downfall of the ACA will be the fact that everyone will be required to obtain health insurance. This limits the freedom of choice. This leads us to the fact that insurance companies are required to insure everyone, even individuals who are sick. It comes down to young people are in less need for insurance that older people. These people will cost more in medical care. This will in return cause the cost of insurance to increase for everyone. The ACA program also has increased insurance premiums simply because they are required to cover a lot more services. Another con for the ACA is that most young people will opt out of coverage and pay the penalty. This does no good to the program as a whole. Small business is affected greatly. The ACA requires that businesses with 50+ full time employees must provide insurance to employees by 2015. This will cause businesses to decrease the number of full time employees that it has to cut costs.
For rural America in the agriculture industry, which may employee part time workers could also be affected negatively. If the part time help is employed full time for more than 120 days then the employer would be required to provide insurance. Federal and state funding will be used in Medicaid funding. The problem is that not all states have to expand Medicaid. Lastly, ACA doesn’t address the ultimate problem of why the cost of health care is so high in the first place. Overall, I believe that the pros for the ACA out weight the cons. Although the taxes of some will increase the availability of health insurance to all will greatly outweigh this point. Although everyone is required to get health insurance there will be a number of ways in which individuals can get free or low cost insurance through marketplaces. You also can not get dropped from insurance because you may have lost your job, became ill, and cannot afford the premium or general discrimination.
As far as young people go they can either stay on their parents’ health insurance plan or qualify for reduced or free health care. Preventive cost will be covered under to ACA this will lead to a healthier America and less need for medical treatment of diseases and illnesses that are preventable. Small business can help take the pressure off by receiving tax credit up to 50% of their employee health care cost. Medicaid will be offered to many more Americans including men, women and children. Lastly, the ACA will help to cap the growth of health care spending. People in rural America are more likely to go without insurance or have to pay high premiums to be insured. This is due to the lack of insurance providers, pre-existing conditions, lack of money to pay for premiums and availability to health care providers in the rural areas. I believe that rural America would benefit from the ACA by simply having the access to a quality and affordable health care plan.