Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Implementing Healthcare Reform

I am a cancer survivor, member of an ethnic minority, a recent college graduate, and a first generation American. My parents are small business owners, victims of gun violence, beneficiaries of student loans and unemployment benefits, and have lived through almost every socio-economic sector of our economy. 

We understand the potential this country has to offer. We understand that government can be seen as a partner of business, a promoter of economic growth, and a protector of justice. We understand that regulation is not always bad, and that capitalism can serve to benefit the middle class. We understand that this country needs equality of opportunity, not outcome.

And that is precisely why we are such strong supporters of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

As most of the major provisions begin to phase in within the year, it is even more important to understand the law and its significance.

First and foremost, this reform treats healthcare as a business by putting customers first.

One of the biggest problems in our healthcare system was that it forgot about its customers: the patient.

Even though Obamacare helps doctors (which is why organizations like the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Surgeons endorse it) and insurance companies (by adding over 30 million new clients to their system), its primary purpose is to help those who need medical care the most and are unable to afford it.

And it does just that:

- 3 million young people under 26 are now able to stay on their parents’ insurance, and an additional 3 million are now able to join their parents’ plans after previously having no insurance

-17 million children with pre-existing conditions now have insurance that couldn’t before

-Prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage (previously over 10,000 people a year had their policies rescinded after getting sick because they reached their lifetime caps)

-About 71 million people now have access to free preventative care, keeping them healthy (which also saves taxpayers in ER costs)  

-Private insurers are required by the law to spend at least 80 percent of their premium revenues on actual healthcare, or must pay a rebate. In 2012, insurers had to pay $1billion in rebates, an average of $150 per family.

After all that is said and done, politics is very personal. And the laws passed by our lawmakers, whether we agree with them or not, affect real people. We must, therefore, take time to learn and understand the laws for what they are, and realize the significance they have in our lives. 

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