The Affordable Care Act in the US

The United States of America is at the top of the rating of the developed countries with the highest gross domestic product rates. Nevertheless, the country experiences some domestic problems, the most urgent of which relates to healthcare coverage. The number of uninsured people is immense in the US. Thus the adoption of the Affordable Care Act at the federal level aimed to increase the healthcare coverage, but Florida, as any other state in the US, applies its particular approaches in responding and implementing the legislative changes within the medical sphere.

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The Affordable Care Act adopted by the Obama administration is a nationwide program that is aimed to decrease the number of people without insurance. There are two common ways of how Florida residents can obtain healthcare coverage: getting tax credits to get insurance or enroll in the state Medicaid program. The Act gives an opportunity for each state to expand Medicaid so that more people become eligible for the application for such an option.

However, the authorities of Florida, similar to those in other southern and central states in the US, refused from participating in this initiative primarily due to its high costs. Fox and Shaw (2015) argue that new eligibility criteria are likely to attract more individuals with an income of up to one hundred and thirty-three percent of the federal poverty level. The Medicaid expansion imposes challenges on healthcare cost management and ensuring adequate access to services for its members. Therefore, the analysis of potential benefits and threats in Florida has led to the decision to reject the opportunity of Medicaid expansion but proceed with other options instead.

One of the positive approaches Florida uses in the implementation and adherence to the clauses of the Affordable Care Act constitutes an alteration in the health insurance plans. Indeed, the Act requires each citizen to get coverage either through an employer, a national program, or an individual plan. Owing to a recent change adopted by the Trump administration, insurance companies can now sell short-term plans at affordable prices that are already available starting from October in 2019.

In Florida, those who need health insurance need to visit a dedicated website that provides convenient navigation and support with the help of which one can understand which option is the most suitable. Otherwise, people are forced to pay fines for being uninsured according to the regulations of Obamacare. Even though such rules are criticized by the public, it is necessary to adhere to them. That is why Florida along with major insurance firms elaborated on the creation of cheaper healthcare coverage plans in order to meet the needs and expectations of its residents.

Owing to the increased number of people who purchased individual plans or enrolled in the Medicaid program, the healthcare facilities in Florida now face some operational difficulties. Even though the innovative approach ensures better healthcare coverage throughout the state, it has some obvious weaknesses. Under the Act regulations, people can use preventive care services at no extra cost. Along with an increased number of insured people, it creates a burden on hospitals and other medical facilities in Florida.

For instance, Medicaid patient visits increased from 10.7 to 14.1 per one hundred residents (Barakat et al., 2017). A similar situation is evident in the levels of hospitalization which keep on escalating with each coming year. Furthermore, a higher percentage of patients hospitalized after visits may result from a prevailing number of the older population that usually have multiple comorbidities (Barakat et al., 2017). As a result, more chambers and healthcare professionals are needed to adequately deliver healthcare services in Florida.

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Such major changes in the state have a significant impact on stakeholders, including both providers and consumers. The latter may face obstacles in receiving healthcare services due to the lack of time or qualified professionals. Meanwhile, a greater burden is put on providers because they are supposed to take care of more patients. The United States has been regularly attracting registered nurses from other countries to eliminate the lack of healthcare professionals in this sphere.

However, the nursing shortage is still evident in the country so that many professionals from abroad are attracted (Arnold, 2013). Even when there is enough workforce, many registered nurses are not culturally competent so that customers may sometimes experience inconveniences. Based on the recent statistical data and facts, a greater number of visits and hospitalizations are evident in Florida so that authorities also need to think of expanding the medical facilities or creating new ones.

According to the regulations of the Affordable Care Act, each state is supposed to align its practices with the nationwide standards. As Medicaid expansion was not obligatory, Florida decided to neglect this initiative but introduced short-term cheap healthcare plans that became available this October. Such an approach promotes a decrease in the number of insured people but at the same time imposes a burden on the healthcare facilities and its workers. Even though many registered nurses come from abroad, they sometimes lack cultural competency to meet the customer’s needs fully.

References

Arnold, H. D. (2013). The Affordable Care Act and international recruitment and migration of nursing professionals. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 20(2), 1373–1391.

Barakat, M. T., Mithal, A., Huang, R.J., Mithal, A., Sehgal, A., Banerjee, S., Singh, G. (2017). Affordable Care Act and healthcare delivery: A comparison of California and Florida hospitals and emergency departments. PLoS ONE, 12(8), 1-12.

Fox, J. B., & Shaw, F. E. (2015). Clinical preventive services: Coverage and the Affordable Care Act. American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), e7-e10.

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