Public health care is defined by collaboration of protecting and improving the health of a community in the form of preventive medicine, health education and management of infectious diseases. According to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, millions of people without access to health insurance will receive health benefits through government intervention. The great debate continues over the challenges of a health care reform plan that promises to decrease the cost of health care and yet provide access to health benefits for an additional 30 million people. As the argument ensues between what the Affordable Care Act of 2010 can actually grant, the proposed changes and policies planned will be in full force by 2014.
Increased Access to Health Insurance
In 2011, Americans spent approximately 16 cents on each dollar for the cost of health care. Even with this high expenditure of funds, young people are the most underinsured in the country. Many college students cannot afford the premiums. Under the Affordable Care Act, health benefits will be extended for people that are no longer covered by their parent’s policies until the age of 26 years. In addition, people with pre-existing conditions and have been ineligible for insurance for six months, will be covered under a special plan in the Affordable Care Act. By 2014, the act vows to eradicate the discrimination of pre-existing conditions.
Affordable Family Health Care Insurance at the Workplace
In the past few years, employers in small businesses have decreased health care coverage of employees, cut employee hours, or have raised premiums to an amount that is cost prohibitive to many workers. The Affordable Care Act pledges to provide tax credits on 35 percent of health insurance contributions per employee for small businesses. Non-profit businesses receive up to 25 percent of tax benefits under the act. Employees will have affordable access to health care insurance and businesses can employ workers full time without monetary consequences.
Preventative Health Care Education
Preventative care is mainly provided through education and community action. Currently, most public health care services lack funds for educational resources and most dollars are allocated to emergency services and health crisis management. Under the new act, counseling on smoking, weight loss, depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and the treatment of depression will be covered by health insurance. Health care education is provided on living a healthy lifestyle and the management of chronic conditions is offered without a deductible or copayment.
Individual States can Offer More Health Benefits
Medicaid is a state and federal partnership that provides funds for people with lower incomes. Funds are allocated by the state to individuals under the age of 65 years. Under the affordable Care Act, states will be able to provide additional benefits for health care education and family health care insurance. If the state refuses to participate in the new act, the health department will be designated as the provider of Medicaid dollars and will act to provide coverage to more residents.
Cost of Public Health Care for People on Medicare
Known as the “donut hole,” Medicare allows for a certain amount of medication costs and the elderly are expected to pay the rest. Medicare recipients will receive extended benefits for costly medications and will pay less out of pocket. According to public health care reform, the high cost of medications will be made affordable to eligible seniors at a 50 percent discount rate and receive a 250 dollar one-time rebate check.
Cost of Public Health Care Fraud
The health care reform initiative also includes the investigation and removal of health care fraud. Medicare and Medicaid waste and abuse has taken millions of dollars a year illegally from government and private health programs. In a ground breaking alliance of state organizations and private health providers, fraudulent billing and claims will be detected by analyzing best practices and industry data nationwide. Criminals involved in health care fraud will face a new array of harsh sentences. In 2009, efforts to stop Medicare fraud have returned 2.8 billion dollars to the Medicare Trust Fund.
Family Health Care Insurance for Early Retirees
People aged 55-65 years of age that have been retired without family health care insurance are eligible for coverage under the new Exchanges component of the Affordable Care Act. Often, early retirees without health care coverage experience conditions and disease that deplete their savings and put them in bankruptcy. Early retirees make up 40 percent of the 60 percent of bankruptcies filed in 2010 from medically related financial ruin in America.
Health Care Reform
The Affordable Care Act promises to ensure the benefits and provide the health care for communities throughout the nation. Covering the uninsured is a major undertaking that promises to meet the challenges and failures of implementing a new system that America has never experienced before. Providing health care education and health coverage for the majority of Americans is the very definition of public health