A Better System

Affordable Care Act - a Review

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, also known as Obamacare, was the largest set of reforms to the U.S. health care system since Medicare was created in 1965. The ACA had a number of important components. Here are the highlights:

· A mandate for individuals to buy insurance in order to create a single risk pool, which lowers prices for everyone.

· The creation of online marketplaces in each state where individuals can shop for an insurance plan.

· The provision of federal subsidies to help people who buy insurance through the exchanges afford their premiums.

· An option for states to expand their Medicaid programs to include people who make up to 138% of the federal poverty line. The ACA provided significant federal funding to the states to help them cover the cost of the expansion.

· A package of regulations on private insurance companies that requires them to insure more people, and sicker people.

The ACA reforms allowed millions of previously uninsured Americans to obtain coverage. Yet, the reforms fell short of the gold standard – a system that provides guaranteed, high quality, comprehensive and equally accessible care for all. The process of health care reform must continue until we achieve these core values.

What is Single-Payer?

People who live in countries with single payer health care systems pay taxes to their government, which then pays for all of their medically necessary health care from birth to death. A government agency becomes the “single payer” of all health care bills. The government provides the insurance coverage, which people can then use at any provider of their choice, public or private, to receive care.

Americans have had a similar system for more than 50 years, Medicare, which covers people 65 and over and the disabled. The concept of “Medicare for All,” would mean expanding this program to cover everyone in the U. S. from birth to death. Such a change would eliminate the need for private insurance for those younger than 65, and the need to pay monthly health insurance premiums.

The idea of people paying taxes to their government to provide services we all need is not new. This is how we finance public education, police and fire services, highway construction and our military.

The main advantages of a single payer health care system are the ability to guarantee health care to all Americans regardless of employment status, and the ability to control costs and keep the price affordable for us all.

Other benefits include:

  • Society
  • Providers
  • Patients
  • Ensures access to comprehensive health care for all residents.
  • Improves health care outcomes. 
  • Reduces health disparities.
  • Promotes a healthier workforce.