Thanks to Obama Health Care, a Law Many Despise Has Changed Health Care in the U.S.



Roughly 25% of the U.S. population have benefited over the past year because of a federal law that many of those 25% despise – Obama health care.  According to Bloomberg Businessweek, last year approximately one of four Americans received free medical care including flu shots, colonoscopies and mammograms.


Other bright spots thus far under Obama health care are also evident, including the fact that 2.5 million young adults under the age of 26 were able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans.  In addition, those who receive Medicare saw the gap in their prescription drug coverage begin to close as many saved over $600.  While Obama health care has received a bad rap since it was signed into law on March 23, 2010, it is evident that there have been advantages.


Dr. David Longworth, chairman of the Medicine Institute at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, stated that “This is probably the most transformative period I’ve lived through.”  As Republicans continue to fight Obama health care, consumers have clearly benefited; in fact, the health care market is being reshaped as doctors, insurers and hospitals continue to adopt new procedures and form alliances.  If Obama health care remains intact, it is estimated that by the year 2018 30 million Americans who are now uninsured will be covered.


Regardless of whether Obama health care keeps going forward or is considered unconstitutional because of the mandate that Americans purchase coverage or be penalized, one thing is clear:  health care may never be as it was prior to March of 2010 again.


Paul Keckley, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions executive director, believes that regardless of whether the individual mandate fails or passes, the more popular coverage improvements will remain.  For instance, many children with pre-existing medical conditions are now able to get treatment regardless of insurance coverage.


Now that it’s election year and the president is involved in campaigning, what would it do to his chances of winning if the individual mandate portion of Obama health care were to be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? This is a question in the back of the minds of many voters – and most definitely in the mind of Barack Obama.


The cost of reverting back to how things were before Obama health care came along is likely too prohibitive for things to go back “the way they were,” so to speak.  As Jonathan Gruber stated, “The early deliverables are on the way and hard to reverse.”  Gruber is an economist with the Institute of Technology in Massachusetts, and was instrumental in the creation of both the 2006 health care law in Massachusetts and the Obama health care law signed in 2010.


One area of the law that is particularly promising is that doctors will be paid on an improved quality of care which results in a good outcome for the patient, rather than for x-rays, treatment, tests and other fee-for-services that have been the tradition for decades.  While this may not be the case in every situation, this is how UnitedHealth Group intends to handle the issue, according to a statement the health insurer made in February.


Love it or hate it, Obama health care is a topic that is still hotly debated, and likely will be for some time to come.

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