With all the many benefits that have come from the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, there are also some negative aspects of the law. Many of these its opponents point to it as prime examples of the legislation not working out properly. It is not a perfect system by any means at all.
There is still much room for improvement. With Donald Trump’s election as President, many of these negative components will be the first to go, should he and the Republican majority in Congress opt to gut the program and repeal it as much as possible.
Like so many other facets of government and law, the issues come back to one thing above all others: money. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a dramatic impact on the bottom line of businesses and individuals alike. Both have to shoulder higher costs for their insurance. In addition, millions have lost their insurance plans. That is because prior to the Affordable Care Act, they did not meet the standards for insurance coverage set forth in the government mandates.
Speculation abounds as to how the law will drive up the costs of healthcare itself. That is mostly due to an increase in the amount of people seeking out preventive care and examinations. There are comparisons between these costs and those for treatments given to people who do not get those early screenings.
They also require costlier care, and as a result, are not typically factored in by these speculators. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the law is the fact that many Americans feel forced to get insurance coverage when they prefer it be their own choice. Additionally, many of them think that paying a penalty for not obtaining a policy is definitely over-reach by the government.
These are just a few of the most prevalent complaints made by detractors and supporters alike. Here are the major sticking points that are often cited for altering in part, or repealing the law altogether.
One of the most popular facets of the Affordable Care Act is that insurance companies will no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. What is not so popular is that the insurance companies raised their premiums on those who held policies before the establishment of the law.
Furthermore, the 30 million+ Americans who held earlier insurance plans lost them because they did not comply with the Affordable Care Act’s mandates for “minimum essential coverage”. Those are the guidelines that set forth how much coverage is the bare minimum to remain adequately provided for in case you need medical care.
As a result, it forced those people to get new insurance plans that cost more. That is because many included services in those policies that people would likely never need. In addition, estimation for the costs of care will rise due to the number of people seeking out doctor visits and routine care than prior to the law being implemented.
The Individual Mandate
This is the portion of the law that prescribes a tax penalty for anyone who does not maintain a health insurance plan. The main function of the Affordable Care Act is to ensure coverage of all Americans. Anyone who is not exempt from the mandate is subject to being fined.
Many view this as big government interfering with the private lives of citizens. Consequently, those who do support the law feel that anyone without an insurance policy is passing off the costs of their care to others who obey the rules.
Republicans who are seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act cite this component as one of their prime reasons for abolishing the law. They have targeted this area for repeal in their new CARE Act plan.
In order to partially fund the Affordable Care Act, there was a number of new taxes placed on various medical transactions including sales of prescriptions and medical devices. Taxes were also raised on wealthy individuals, anyone making more than $200,000 and couples filing jointly with incomes over $250,000 saw a rise in their tax liability.
There is also the tax that anyone without coverage is required to pay, though many qualify for the myriad of abolished exemptions. Additionally, many others will still find themselves paying a fine. Some analysts estimate that it is somewhere in the range of 4 million people. The penalty is cheaper and an easier cost to pay than that associated with getting new coverage. This will add up to an overall tally of nearly $50 billion collected.
Forget the issue of the public being given two or three months to enroll for coverage during the “open enrollment” periods. Not to mention the many requirements for meeting the exceptions of a “qualifying event” that allow enrollment outside of the open enrollment. Signing up for coverage is tough to do for even the most patient of folks.
When the Affordable Care Act website first went live, it had many problems. Yet, since ironing out those issues, choosing a plan is also complicated. The website has tried to simplify the selection process. Additionally, many health groups have offered their own guides to make enrollment easier.
Reduction of Employee Hours
While premiums and taxes are going up, there was a reduction in the number of hours that employees work. Many businesses cut the hours of their employees. They did this to avoid compliance with the mandates of the law that provides healthcare insurance for their workforce.
Anyone who works 30 or more hours a week is, by law, a full-time employee. Under the Affordable Care Act, those workers eligible to receive employer-sponsored coverage suddenly saw their hours drop.
This cost cutting measure is done by companies who did not want to offer their staffs with insurance, even though the law requires it. There have also been instances of companies opting to pay the penalty for not providing a plan as prescribed under the Affordable Care Act, instead of incurring the higher cost of getting a company-sponsored plan.