For a long time, the Health Care concern has been a centre of discussion in the society as well as among the representatives in a bid to find out which would be the best way to cushion Americans from the ever increasing burden of having to take care of themselves medically. Efforts have been made but still there is no single solution to the issue hence a combined effort between the citizens and the government is very essential in ensuring that the ultimate goal is achieved and each American has adequate Health care assurance. This is the aim of the Health Reforms that was passed into law at the behest of the current president, Obama.
Provisions of the Health Reform
There are several benefits that the Health Reforms are expected to bring to the American population in general. One of the central changes is the fact that the Health Reforms prohibit health insurers from denying coverage or charging based on patients’ medical histories or gender. This will ensure that there is adequate cover for everyone without the insurers having loop holes to concentrate on the covers that only benefit them yet leaving out the significant population that requires its services, in effect it will minimize discrimination in health care.
The other significant provision is the repeal of insurance companies’ exemption from anti-trust laws, this will again guard against insurers colluding and coming up with covers and conditions that are not client focused but meant to protect themselves.
The other benefit of the reform was the setting of minimum standards for qualified health benefit plans, most employers to provide insurance cover for their employees or pay a surtax on the workers’ wages up to 8%, all this aimed at ensuring that each American citizen who puts his efforts into the building of the nation has enough health cover backing whenever they need it.
The reform also aimed at an expansion of Medical aid to include more low-income Americans by heightening Medicaid eligibility limits to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level and by covering adults without dependents. It also fronts a subsidy to low- and middle-income Americans to help buy insurance. This is a central health insurance exchange where the public is able to evaluate policies and rates, a government-run insurance plan.
Americans will also be required to carry or obtain qualifying health insurance coverage or possibly face surtax for non-compliance. A 5.4% surtax on individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $500,000 ($1 million for married couples filing joint returns), and 2.5% excise duty on medical devices. Obama plan also projects spending on Medicare of $400 billion over a ten-year period, imposing a $2,500 limit on contributions to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which allows for payment of health costs with pre-tax funds.
The Emergency Medical Services is also up to benefit from the various reforms that are expected in the Health reform package. There is going to be reduction of strain on the EMS since the reform plan aims at reducing the cost of health care and expand as well aces to insurance service, the patients who were hitherto reliant on EMS as their primary health care providers will drastically reduce. This is a trend that was very predominant among the fire fighters and they were always on call. On March 23, 2010 Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which is intended to alleviate the situation. With this solved, the EMS and fire fighters in particular will have less and less strain on their service hence perfect their service to the very needy cases (International Association of Fire Fighters, 2011).
There will be better Health Cover for EMS staff. The EMS staff are the first hand consumers and primary providers of the much needed emergency services, they are then in the best position to detect and suffer the shortcomings of the health care system. This has gone on over the years until the introduction of the health care reforms. The cost of health care has risen over the years dramatically and the EMS staff, fire fighters in particular has had to give up their wage increment and other supplementary benefits for the sake of retaining their health care coverage. The saddest part is that they see and experience on a daily basis the agony of those without insurance as they rely solely on them for alternative health care, with this trauma, the EMS staff would do anything to have a cover. The EMS will now benefit from the health care reform plan and have the advantage of pocketing the extra benefits and going for the increments.
With the reforms, there is expected better Service from the EMS since the majority of people shall have been covered (as shown in above) hence there will be a narrowed number of the “have-nots.” This will be a more homogenous and way smaller section of the uninsured people that will make the EMS more efficient in serving them and give them appropriate and timely health care solutions. However, with the ever decreasing number of primary care providers, there still will be a higher demand for the EMS as the bridge in the U.S. health care system (Bill Atkinson, 2010).
The reform will also see into a more coordinated Health care. According to the reform plan, there is a deliberate effort to ensure that the payment for the health care and the insurance will be purely based on quality and not quantity. This is aimed at making health care at all levels more effective to Americans. This model can only mean one thing in the American health care system, a more coordinated and better integrated system among the health care systems that ensures quality medical care is given in good time as well. This eventual coordination will cut across the entire care and eservice stages, including the EMS to the rehabilitation sectors. Hence the management of the EMS sector will be better in tandem with other health care departments and levels (Bill Atkinson, 2010).
There will also be a better equipped EMS put in place as the reforms get implemented. The reform will ultimately solve the lack of funding for emergency response programs. The American health care system for long has lacked preparedness in terms of emergency response and the reform plan seeks to better coordinate the public health, emergency service, emergency communication enhancement, public safety and better organization of the medical information and data in the quest to better serve the American people (Ben LaBolt, 2010). LaBolt further notes the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports of 2006 that pointed out the EMS as one of the ill equipped departments in health care, being highly fragmented, not well prepared for every day operation leave alone a disaster and poorly equipped. This reform plan is working on the modalities of ensuring the above are all rectified and EMS becomes a better department for the Americans.
The health reform also presents the largest cut in health care tax for the middle class than ever seen before. This will in effect make the health care more affordable for millions of families in the U.S.A. And in effect ensure that more people have adequate cover (ProCOn.org, 2011).
The cons of the health care reforms
The first undoing of the Obama plan is solidly on the small businesses. It is apparent that the small businesses provide for a wide employment spectrum. Their reluctance to recruit is brought about by fear of the taxation and higher premiums for medical cover purposes. This is widely responsible for the near 9.7% joblessness in U.S. At the moment and is feared could remain so for the next five years. According to paycheck processing company ADP’s monthly small business employment report, small companies employed 106.7 million people in February, down from close to 115 million in 2007 at the start of the major recession. This will consequently lead to low production; low returns for companies and the low profits will eventually mean the economic status of these small companies will grind downwards. Summed up, these numerous companies, undergoing economic strain under the hefty taxes, the overall economy of the U.S. will be negatively hit.
In fact Emily Kaiser (2010) says of the Obama bill as “The U.S. healthcare bill promises benefits now and delays the payback until later, a politically savvy short-term move that may have long-run economic repercussions.” Essentially the plan would be eliminating the tax break that employers currently enjoy to finance the individual tax credits. This will in effect make the financial burden be more on the employer and in effect more employers will shy away from mass recruitment for fear of more taxation per head. This will effectively dismantle the employer-provided system that is estimated to cover well into 60% of Americans. This scheme, just like the Obama health care plan will threaten the existence of small businesses that don’t have enough financial base to cover their employees.
The Obama model will also lead to capital deficit among the insurers and they will be unable to effectively compensate or cover their clients, hence they will close down. The same effect will be felt from those who lose their jobs yet they were insured, and then decide to buy coverage on the exchange effectively getting mandatory protection.
To meet these increments in costs there will be some increment in taxation as well. This will in effect leave the middle class with less in pocket to meet their daily costs. Tax credits may not be enough to offset the cost of insurance and as always the class that tends to get the squeeze is the middle class (Urban Institute, 2010).
Another major concern is the possibility of the reform being very expensive hence making the Americans to pay more for it through their taxes. In fact Emily Kaiser (2010) says of the Obama bill as “The U.S. healthcare bill promises benefits now and delays the payback until later, a politically savvy short-term move that may have long-run economic repercussions.”
The other boomerang consequence that the reform may have on the American population is effect of the entire plan on the small businesses, being that this sector provides for a large percentage of employment fields. Their reluctance to recruit is brought about by fear of the taxation and higher premiums for medical cover purposes. This was widely responsible for the near 9.7% joblessness in U.S. during the recession years and is feared could remain so for the next three years. According to paycheck processing company ADP’s monthly small business employment report, small companies employed 106.7 million people in February 2008, down from close to 115 million in 2007 at the start of the major recession. This was coupled by the 84, 000 job loses in the private sector (Justin Lahart, 2010). This will consequently lead to low production; low returns for companies and the low profits will eventually mean the economic status of these small companies will grind downwards. Summed up, these numerous companies, undergoing economic strain under the hefty taxes, the overall economy of the U.S. will be negatively hit. As a boomerang, it may lead to more people in the hitherto mentioned “have-nots” group and straining again the health care plan.
Generally, considering the previous state of the health care system in USA and the new prospects that the reforms are bound to achieve and some that have already been achieved, there is need for all Americans to pull together to ensure that the reforms are realized for the benefit of the entire USA. This is a peculiar Health care system from any other in the world and is formatted to benefit the American people. From the above mentioned benefits among many other subtle benefits that will come alongside, the Health reforms is a good idea for the U.S.A.
Ben LaBolt, (2010). Senator Obama Introduces Bill to Strengthen Emergency Medical Care
Systems. Retrieved November 13, 2011 from http://www.emsvillage.com/articles/article.cfm?id=2185
Bill Atkinson, (2010). What Obama’s health care bill means for EMS. Retrieved November 13,
2011 from http://www.ems1.com/ems-advocacy/articles/779154-What-Obamas-health-care-bill-means-for-EMS/
Emily, K. (2010, March 22). The buy now, pay later U.S. healthcare bill. Washington Post.
(Reuters). Healthcare plan a prescription for disaster.(2010 February 24). Retrieved November 13, 2011 from www.contrarianprofits.com/articles/obama%E2%8%99s-healthcare-plan-a-prescription-for-disaster/19278.
International Association of Fire Fighters, (2011). Healthcare Reform. Retrieved November 13,
2011 from http://www.iaff.org/politics/legislative/Healthcarereform.htm
Justin Lahart, (2010). Job Losses Continue, ADP Surveys Suggest. Retrieved November 13, 2011
Emily Kaiser. (2010). The Buy now, Pay later U.S. Healthcare Bill. The U.S. healthcare bill promises benefits now and delays the payback until later, a politically savvy short-term move that may have long-run economic repercussions. Retrieved November 13, 2011 from http://uk.reuters.com/article/2010/03/22/uk-usa-healthcare-economy-analysis-idUKTRE62L4V720100322
ProCon.org, (2011). Are the March 2010 federal health care reform laws good for America?
Retrieved November 13, 2011 from http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=003725
Urban Institute, (2010). An Analysis of the McCain Health Care Proposal. Retrieved November
13, 2011 from www.urban.org/publications/411755.html
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