Obamacare is a nickname for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often shortened to Affordable Care Act, ACA). In 2010, President Obama and Congress signed ACA into the law. They wanted all Americans to be able to get health insurance. They also wanted to lower the cost of healthcare. Unlike in the UK, in the US, in order to receive health care, you have to pay. Going to the doctor or the hospital has become very expensive and health care costs are the number one reason of bankruptcy in the US. For example, one visit to the hospital for an emergency costs $1,265 on average and cancer treatment can cost $30,000 roughly. Under this law, hospitals would have to improve their technology to increase better health outcomes, lower costs and improve their methods of distribution and accessibility. The act aims to slow the growth rate of US healthcare spending, which is the highest in the world.
Those with health insurance do not have to pay these costs as their insurance covers most of them; although, they just have to pay a small fee on visit, which is called co-payment. Many US citizens will receive their health insurance as a benefit from their employer. For those who do not receive health insurance by their employer or cannot afford it, will be able to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a programme created by the government to provide payment for medical services for citizens on low-income. Medicare is a federal programme that covers your health insurance if you are 65 or older, no matter what your income is. However, if you are on high-incomes, are not older than 65 and your health insurance is not provided by your employer then you have to pay yourself. Obamacare does not have a requirement, the law requires insurers to accept all applicants, regardless of their condition or sex.
The introduction of Obamacare allowed the amount of people who didn’t have health insurance to decrease. The uninsured rate among adults (18 and over) fell from 18.0% in Q3 2013 to 13.4% by Q2 2014. The rate has dropped by 5% since the programme began.
However, some disagree on whether Obamacare actually reduces the deficit. The original estimate was $143 billion savings; although others forecast that it will add $1.76 trillion to the debt. This would be a burden because Congress passed the ACA by saying that it would reduce the cost of Medicare and Medicaid – which were eating up the entire budget. Experts say that the law imposes too many costs on businesses; however, since the beginning of Obamacare, jobs in the healthcare sector rose by 9%. The new president of the US, Donald Trump, has said that he wants to repeal; although if he does, it is estimated that 22 million people would lose their medical insurance.