The Act was signed into law by President Barrack Obama in 2010, and represents a major revolution to the US health care system. It has two core functions, that is, to increase the number of Americans enjoying at least basic medical cover and make health care affordable to every American. In addition, the Act seeks to prohibit insurers from refusing insurance to persons with pre-existing conditions in general, however with specific exemptions such as tobacco related complications. In order to add the number of people with access to insurance, the Act established a detailed income based individual or house hold premiums payable for insurance cover. The Act set the premiums as a percentage of income according to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) ranging from 2% (for those below the 100% FPL mark) to 3% (between 100 – 133%), 4% (150% FPL), 6.3% (200 % FPL), 8.05% (those below 250% FPL), 9.5% (those below 300% FPL and all categories above this mark) accordingly (Dept. Health and Human Services, 2012). The Act also holds that, each individual is eligible for a cover. However, those individuals who fail to take the cover are liable for an annual penalty, with specific exemptions for non-employed persons whose income is such that it would constitute above 8.5% of the income, among such other groups.
Views Regarding PPACA
I am of the view that PPACA is an imbalanced product which mainly favors those people who are originally predisposed to benefit from existing health care facilities or would otherwise still afford medical care from out of pocket contributions. In addition, I believe that the Act has imposed unnecessary burden on unsuspecting, unwilling Americans. Firstly, it is important to note that employees are automatically absorbed in the insurance, due to employer responsibility to offer cover for the former. Initially, cover terms were diverse and changeable, so that employees had a say regarding the type and terms of cover they would lobby from employers. In the PPACA era, the maximum employee benefits and policy terms have not been legislated upon, but the minimum have been set, with mostly increase contributions (Sherman, Raju, & Kim, 2012). Concurrently, the projected number of un-insured, which was expected to greatly reduce, has still remained high. The ultimate losers are young adults who are single and unemployed and who will opt to pay annual penalties rather than pay out of pocket premiums, as these constitute a large portion of those not insured. The policy is, therefore, still largely favorable for the elderly, the employed and the wealthy, while it is harmful to the nation’s economy, to immigrants, and to the young unemployed, who constitute a large percentage of the national population (Sherman, Raju, & Kim, 2012).
American Values Blamed for Health Care Crisis
I am of the opinion that it is true, American values are at the core of the largely skewed Health Care system, which consumes so much and benefits so little. Firstly, instead of looking for ways of reaching everyone, rich and poor alike, the system has been designed to give quality to a few (those who can afford it, are old, or are employed), while taxing so heavily the majority who are usually poorer, and more productive to the GDP. Therefore, less than 20 % are insured, while 100% are supporting the nation’s GDP growth. Due to the fact that Americans value democracy and personal rights so much, a system must be so carefully insured against lawsuits that the ultimate objectives of the sort personal rights are not realized. Doctors will treat patients with a view to protect themselves, notwithstanding the implications for the clients (Schmidt, 2008). What America needs is a paradigm shift in the way people want to be helped, with the majority labor force, those who feel the pain of paying premiums, consulted. What people need to realize is that, an effective Medicare will only come when people learn to compromise on their individual gains and focus a little more on the greater gain for more people. This will reduce paper work and legal expenses, while affording healthcare for more people (Schuman & Mendelson, 2010).