There are arguments for both sides of this controversial question. Some will tell you that the system is a roaring success; helping uninsured Americans gain the health coverage needed to access preventive and emergency services that were previously beyond their reach. Others will point out website failures and doctors electing to stop accepting private insurance because of the complexities of the new system. In other words, they would say that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is definitely not working. While there have been some bumps in the road, Obamacare is definitely picking up steam. Like any major system overhaul, there are bound to be a few issues in the beginning, and healthcare reform is an overhaul on a massive scale. Problems are to be expected and it will take time to iron out the kinks, so to speak, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the system as a whole has failed.
In order to properly answer this question, the goals of Obamacare must be examined. The main goal was to give uninsured Americans and underserved groups access to affordable care options. Prior to healthcare reform being implemented several years ago, it was estimated that upwards of 30 million Americans were uninsured. These people lacked access to preventive services and basic medical care due to any number of factors. Some did not receive benefits through their employment and couldn’t afford the high cost of private coverage. Others weren’t even eligible to receive coverage due to preexisting conditions. The result, often enough, was severe financial strain related to medical bills, patients relying on emergency services rather than preventive care, and taxpayers taking on the burden of providing high-cost, emergency healthcare for patients that didn’t seek medical help until injury or illness was so far advanced that they had no choice.
This is a pretty sad state of affairs. Nearly everyone agrees that a nation’s citizens should have access to affordable healthcare. So reforming the system was a clear necessity. Obamacare was designed to ensure that underserved groups had the opportunity to purchase affordable insurance options, and thus gain access to basic medical services and preventive care, avoiding suffering and the onset of serious (and costly) ailments in the process. Children, the elderly, the disabled, expectant mothers, and low-income families are some of the groups that were meant to benefit from the implementation of Obamacare.
Back to the original question: is Obamacare working? Insomuch as the reform has led uninsured Americans to become insured, yes. Under the law, every U.S. citizen must maintain a mandatory minimum of health insurance coverage. This can be obtained through the health insurance marketplace and/or state insurance exchanges, whereby citizens apply for coverage and are given options for plans they should be able to afford based on their household income, number of dependents, and so on. The goal of helping uninsured Americans to become insured has been largely successful, with millions gaining coverage for the first time in their lives and previously uninsurable patients with preexisting conditions now finding the doors to health insurance flung open.
In addition, more insurance providers are offering affordable plans through the marketplace, more doctors are accepting policies provided under Obamacare, and the uphill battle to prove that healthcare reform can work is well underway. It may still take some time for everyone involved to understand, accept, and take full advantage of the opportunities offered by Obamacare, but that’s to be expected. The important thing to keep in mind is that the system has helped millions gain access to preventive care and basic medical services. On that score, it is working beautifully.
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