Obamacare is a piece of legislation that is highly controversial in many circles. Since its passage, the furor of Obamacare has died down now that Americans have a form of national health insurance. This sample research paper explores the effects, advantages, and drawbacks of Obamacare.
The debate over Obamacare
Whether one supports Obamacare or not, it is difficult to deny the changes it has initiated of the American landscape, not just the health-care fields either. Obamacare has a profound effect on the economy since it affects one of the largest fields in the United States. This brings with it a large number of both advantages and disadvantages.
The important thing to remember when debating Obamacare is not to support or reject Obamacare simply because of Obama, whose influence is not as prevalent in Obamacare as its name seems to imply (although the other name for it is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Before deciding if Obamacare is a good idea, it is mandatory to examine it from all possible angles.
United States health compared to other nations
First and foremost, the actual necessity of Obamacare should be considered. The findings are surprising. There are actually many cases where Americans are actually healthier than nations with different systems of healthcare, such as many European countries, which use socialized healthcare. For example, the mortality rate for breast cancer is:
- 52 percent higher in Germany
- 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom
In addition, the United States has higher survival rates in most type of cancers than Europe, including:
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Uterine cancer
There is a large amount of other supportive evidence for the effectiveness of America’s current public health care system, such as that Americans have superior access to preventative screening measures, generally have shorter waiting times, have better access for lower-income citizens, and so on, but the point is that America’s current health care system is, if nothing else, adequate, and in no need of changing (Atlas, 4).
Measuring Obamacare’s quantity over quality approach
Another aspect of Obamacare that has garnered much attention is the question of how it would handle insurance, and whether a “quantity over quality” approach as Obamacare is utilizing is truly the best course of action. While this remains debatable, one startling fact is that 18.2 percent of Americans, which amounts to about 48.2 million people, are entirely without health insurance, and that number has been growing to over 50 million in 2012 (Kollar, 1).
Much of these issues are stemmed from what is called “adverse selection” within the healthcare insurance industry, which essentially just means that there are too many options, many of them undesirable, for the average citizen (Atlas, 25). One of the benefits of Obamacare is it would finally solve the issue of citizens not having insurance by making it (essentially) mandatory. It would also (supposedly) solve the issue of adverse selection by simplifying the health care system by making it much more socialized, which is, of course, both an advantage and a disadvantage, but it is hard to debate that it does fix some of the complication issues with healthcare.
Reducing a complex health care system
Another issue that Obamacare would hopefully alleviate is that the system of healthcare in America is way too complex. While most countries use one of four models for healthcare, the Beveridge model, the Bismarck model, the National Health Insurance model, or the Out-of-Pocket model, America uses a convoluted combination of these four models, and, for many Americans, they are clueless as to just how their own healthcare system works (Kollar, 2).
This concept is also applicable to nations like Canada, in which many Americans believe healthcare is “free,” and that America should try to be like Canada, but this is not true, and Canada’s healthcare system has its faults just as America’s healthcare system does (Pipes, 10-11). In fact, much of the United States’ healthcare system is superior to Canada’s, such as having a more recent technology, but the problem is that funding and over-complexity continue to be an issue, and it is here that Obamacare hopes to excel (Pipes, 12).
Advantages of Obamacare
Obamacare has a number of other advantages as well. It does a good job of targeting demographics that are in need the most, without necessarily giving preferential treatment entirely to the poor, as many were afraid would happen. For instance, those who already have health insurance, under Obamacare, would not be discriminated for pre-existing conditions, an issue that has plagued many, especially the chronically sick, and those with insurance, for a long time (Wilkerson, 3).
Obamacare is designed to reduce out-of-pocket expenses by utilizing co-pays and remove the fees for preventive care, which means that things like vaccines, check-ups, and health care visits to prevent disease will either be drastically cheaper or entirely free (Wilkerson, 3). Another big advantage of Obamacare is that it attempts to preserve Medicare, which many fear is dwindling fast, presenting a big problem for the elderly, by allocating more and more funds to Medicare each year to prevent it from dwindling (Wilkerson, 4).
This is especially helpful now because of the baby boomers reaching retirement age and putting a strain on Medicare resources. Lastly, Obamacare makes shopping for insurance for those without insurance much easier. It also increases the amount of consumer choice so that those who are without insurance are not stuck with a particular insurance provider (Atlas, 41).
Disadvantages of Obamacare
This is not to say that Obamacare is not without its faults. For starters, the program has had problems with deployment ever since its initiation. One of the greatest hurdles for Obamacare to overcome its for high-value care; specifically, care that requires a large deductible can be hard to coordinate under Obamacare. The best remedy for this is to require a more meaningful partnership between clinicians, taxpayers, and administrators, leading to a greater amount of communication with regards to high-risk healthcare efforts (Robbins, 2).
Another negative issue with Obamacare is that it offers little incentive for physicians to offer high-quality levels of care. That is to say, a physician who merely treats the prevailing symptoms will be rewarded just as much as one that fixes the underlying issues beneath the initial symptoms, which promotes laziness among physicians and is unfair to those who choose to do their job as effectively as possible (Robbins, 2).
Another possible disadvantage with Obamacare, which the Obama administration is loathed to reveal, is that it relies very much on rationing. Specifically, the Obama administration has issued a report stating that it projected total health spending as decreasing by 30% over the next twenty years (Feldstein, 1). Since Obamacare focuses on treating a large number of people (almost everybody, in fact), this means that a large number of people who traditionally have relied on large amounts of healthcare to either go without entirely or do so out of their own pocket, which largely defeats the purpose of Obamacare in the first place.
On the upside, the administration has expressed a dedication to narrowing this 30% of health care by cutting the fat, so to speak, and only leaving “healthcare that works,” which, if done correctly, could be a huge improvement to the health care system (Feldstein, 1). Whether or not this will actually be the case remains to be seen.
Obamacare is a subject that is felt strongly about, positively or negatively, by almost everyone in the nation, and for good reason. It is one of the largest healthcare reforms in the history of the nation, which is saying something since there have been many. It certainly has its advantages and disadvantages, but the important thing to remember is that, although America’s healthcare system is actually quite solid, it will not be for much longer with the deterioration of Medicaid and social security, and, if not Obamacare, some sort of overhaul is needed.
Atlas, Scott W. Reforming America’s Health Care System: The Flawed Vision of Obamacare. Hoover Press, (2010).
Feldstein, Martin. “Obamacare is all about rationing.” Wall Street Journal (2009).
Kollar, Denis. “Obamacare: Good Medicine, Bad Politics or the Other Way Around?.” (2012).
Pipes, Sally C. The truth about Obamacare. Regnery Gateway, (2010).
Robbins, Richard A. “Obamacare and Computers-Who Is to Blame?.” (2013)
Wilkerson, Keith, Jordaan Williams, and Timothy Wirth. “ObamaCare: Improving Reform’s Bill of Health.” (2010).