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Affordable Care Act Role on the Care of Patients

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents an extensive medical reform that was signed into law by President Obama at the beginning of the year 2010. Officially referred to as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or just Obamacare, the Act encompasses a list of health-associated provisions that endeavor to broaden medical-insurance and treatment to millions of uninsured patients in America (Adams et al., 2018). The ACA improved Medicaid qualification, established health insurance argument, increased efficiency, and barred insurance firms from rejecting coverage (or increasing costs) because of pre-existing conditions (Han et al., 2018). The Act also promotes the care of children, teenagers, and young adults by allowing them to be covered by the insurance plans of their parents up to the time they attain the age of 26 years (Mulcahy et al., 2018). The ACA seeks to continually improve the care of patients by gradually introducing healthcare reforms from 2010 to about 2022.

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The ACA created a revolutionary reform law that was enacted to enhance access to quality care. It exists in two segments that encompass the Patient Protection and Affordable Act, as well as the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (López-Sanders, 2017). The main objective of the ACA was to facilitate medical services for all patients across the United States (Campbell & Shore-Sheppard, 2020). Consequently, it underscores five vital areas that encompass the extension of coverage, reduction of medical costs, support of patients’ choices, making insurance companies accountable for arising health charges, and facilitating the quality of care for all (Meinhofer & Witman, 2018). Since the ACA endeavors to support the coverage of medical care across America devoid of any discrimination, a key objective underscored is health informatics that seeks to improve the provision of treatment to all patients irrespective of their financial ability or location (Andrews et al., 2019). For instance, healthcare informatics ensures that patients who do not have access to a physician on a normal basis can easily uphold communication with their doctors.

Enhanced under the ACA, informatics has eased the accessibility of health care alternatives to patients. By offering a patient the read-only platform while giving health professionals read and write access, informatics makes the availability of patients’ data effortless (Villatoro et al., 2016). For instance, a patient can proceed with medical care at any facility of their choice because electronic health record makes their clinical information available any time and anywhere (Rocco et al., 2018). Moreover, through the facilitation of electronic health records, the ACA has assisted in the lessening of time wastage that was earlier linked to a manual search for patients’ data (McCabe & Wahler, 2016). The development of health informatics in line with the goals of the ACA is anticipated to rise as an increasingly high number of people embrace it (Miller et al., 2016). Communication between different health professionals and insurance companies has strongly been supported by the application of informatics (Soni et al., 2018). This has made caregivers find it positively making their work easy and improving patient outcomes. Moreover, access to medical data by patients at any time offers a real-time evaluation of their health, which improves the degree of awareness among patients (Fitzgerald et al., 2017). Apart from improving cognition among patients, the ACA has increased their sense of responsibility and, consequently, the quality of care.

The ACA was planned to decrease expenditure on medical insurance coverage for all patients who qualified for it. It introduced premium tax credits, in addition to cost-sharing decreases as a means of enabling lessening of costs for low-income earners and members of their families (Seo et al., 2019). Premium tax credits decrease patients’ medical insurance bills while cost-sharing diminutions lessen the out-of-pocket charges, the full amount that a person is needed to pay every year for incurred medical expenses (Lynch et al., 2016). All the ACA medical insurance plans cover fundamental health requirements that encompass mental health and substance use disorders, ambulatory services, breastfeeding, chronic disease management, emergency facilities, family planning, hospitalization, laboratory costs, pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (Shin & Regenstein, 2016). The Act also covers pediatric care, prescription medicines, preventive and health services, and rehabilitative and habilitative care (Lanford & Quadagno, 2016). To enhance the care of patients, the ACA also necessitates insurance plans (encompassing the ones sold in the marketplace) to provide preventive care at no cost. Such care comprises patients’ counseling, frequent health screenings, checkups, and immunizations. It also permits states to expand Medicaid coverage to a broad range of patients.

A remarkable segment of the ACA is the individual mandate which ensures that all American patients have inexpensive medical coverage, whether through the Act, employer, or any other source if they do not want to face stringent measures such as tax penalties. This has played the role of expanding medical care to all uninsured residents and made sure that there is a satisfactorily wide pool of insured patients to enhance the quality of care (Angier et al., 2017). In 2017, in his initial talks following the assumption of office, President Trump gave an indication of his purpose to repeal the ACA. He affirmed that the management of executive agencies should delay the application of all provisions and requirements of the law that could create a financial burden on the state (Pacheco et al., 2020). The issuance of such an order led to the first stage of the attempts by Republicans to repeal and change the ACA (Srivastav et al., 2017). Nevertheless, efforts by the government to repeal the ACA have not been successful since 2017. The US government has considerably decreased its outreach plans to assist American residents to enroll for ACA cover. As an approach to decreasing taxation, the US Congress removed the earlier imposed penalty for failure to have medical insurance cover.

The ACA is a wide-ranging medical reform that was signed into law by President Obama in early 2010. The ACA enhanced Medicaid qualification, reinforced health insurance plans, increased efficiency, and prevented insurance firms from declining coverage (or increasing costs) based on pre-existing conditions. The ACA seeks to constantly improve the care of patients by progressively introducing healthcare reforms up to about 2022. The Act highlights five crucial areas that encompass broadening of coverage, lessening of medical costs, support of patients’ preferences, making insurance companies responsible for occurring health charges, and facilitating the quality of care for all American citizens. Since the ACA supports the coverage of medical care for all patients without any bias, the main objective underscored is health informatics that enhances the provision of care regardless of monetary capability or location. The ACA has expanded medical care to all uninsured residents and made sure that there is a satisfactorily wide pool of covered patients to improve the quality of care.

References

Adams, S. H., Park, M. J., Twietmeyer, L., Brindis, C. D., & Irwin, C. E. (2018). Association between adolescent preventive care and the role of the Affordable Care Act. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(1), 43-48. Web.

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Andrews, C. M., Pollack, H. A., Abraham, A. J., Grogan, C. M., Bersamira, C. S., D’Aunno, T., & Friedmann, P. D. (2019). Medicaid coverage in substance use disorder treatment after the affordable care act. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 102, 1-7. Web.

Angier, H., Hoopes, M., Marino, M., Huguet, N., Jacobs, E. A., Heintzman, J., Holderness, H., Hood, C., & DeVoe, J. E. (2017). Uninsured primary care visit disparities under the Affordable Care Act. The Annals of Family Medicine, 15(5), 434-442. Web.

Campbell, A. L., & Shore-Sheppard, L. (2020). The social, political, and economic effects of the Affordable Care Act: Introduction to the issue. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 6(2), 1-40. Web.

Fitzgerald, M. P., Bias, T. K., & Gurley‐Calvez, T. (2017). The Affordable Care Act and consumer well‐being: Knowns and unknowns. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 51(1), 27-53. Web.

Han, X., Yabroff, K. R., Ward, E., Brawley, O. W., & Jemal, A. (2018). Comparison of insurance status and diagnosis stage among patients with newly diagnosed cancer before vs after implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. JAMA Oncology, 4(12), 1713-1720. Web.

Lanford, D., & Quadagno, J. (2016). Implementing ObamaCare: The politics of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Sociological Perspectives, 59(3), 619-639. Web.

López-Sanders, L. (2017). Changing the navigator’s course: How the increasing rationalization of healthcare influences access for undocumented immigrants under the Affordable Care Act. Social Science & Medicine, 178, 46-54. Web.

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Lynch, S., Greeno, C., Teich, J., & Delany, P. (2016). Opportunities for social work under the Affordable Care Act: A call for action. Social Work in Health Care, 55(9), 651-674. Web.

McCabe, H. A., & Wahler, E. A. (2016). The affordable care act, substance use disorders, and low-income clients: Implications for social work. Social Work, 61(3), 227-233. Web.

Meinhofer, A., & Witman, A. E. (2018). The role of health insurance on treatment for opioid use disorders: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion. Journal of Health Economics, 60, 177-197. Web.

Miller, S. C., Frogner, B. K., Saganic, L. M., Cole, A. M., & Rosenblatt, R. (2016). Affordable Care Act impacts community health center staffing and enrollment. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 39(4), 299-307. Web.

Mulcahy, A. W., Gracner, T., & Finegold, K. (2018). Associations between the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Medicaid primary care payment increase and physician participation in Medicaid. JAMA Internal Medicine, 178(8), 1042-1048. Web.

Pacheco, J., Haselswerdt, J., & Michener, J. (2020). The Affordable Care Act and polarization in the United States. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 6(2), 114-130. Web.

Rocco, P., Kelly, A. S., & Keller, A. C. (2018). Politics at the cutting edge: Intergovernmental policy innovation in the Affordable Care Act. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 48(3), 425-453. Web.

Seo, V., Baggett, T. P., Thorndike, A. N., Hull, P., Hsu, J., Newhouse, J. P., & Fung, V. (2019). Access to care among Medicaid and uninsured patients in community health centers after the Affordable Care Act. BMC health services research, 19(1), 291-297. Web.

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Shin, P., & Regenstein, M. (2016). After the Affordable Care Act: Health reform and the safety net. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 44(4), 585-588. Web.

Soni, A., Sabik, L. M., Simon, K., & Sommers, B. D. (2018). Changes in insurance coverage among cancer patients under the Affordable Care Act. JAMA Oncology, 4(1), 122-124. Web.

Srivastav, A., Fairbrother, G., & Simpson, L. A. (2017). Addressing adverse childhood experiences through the Affordable Care Act: Promising advances and missed opportunities. Academic Pediatrics, 17(7), S136-S143. Web.

Villatoro, A. P., Dixon, E., & Mays, V. M. (2016). Faith-based organizations and the Affordable Care Act: Reducing Latino mental health care disparities. Psychological Services, 13(1), 92-95. Web.

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