Since the introduction of affordable care act (ACA), the number of uninsured persons seems to have reduced significantly. Some experts claim that the number has reduced by about 40 percent (Roby et al., 2013). However, the most worrying issue is that even if this number has reduced significantly, the uninsured persons in our communities are still many, and they are projected to reach 21 million next year. This means that even if ACA has played a significant role in reducing the number of uninsured, it has not solved the problem in totality.
Eliza, a 53-year-old woman, is a good example. She lost her job sometimes back, and since that time, she has no insurance coverage. The other day she presented herself at a local clinic for medical checkup after noticing a breast lump a while back. During her interview with the doctor, she revealed that she delayed seeking medical attention simply because she did not have health insurance. Eliza is well-educated because she has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in art. Furthermore, she is employed, but she cannot afford health insurance because the premium cost would take up about 50 percent of her salary (Tanner, 2013). Eliza’s husband is also employed and works as an educator and artist. Their combined income is below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Eliza does not have access to internet at her home to search for free medical checkups in the state, and even if she can access internet at a local library, the library is too far from her home. Recently, she received treatment that amounted to over $15,000. She is yet to clear this bill whereas the doctors have recommended that she need to receive chemotherapy. Eliza has protested doctor’s advice because she does not have insurance coverage. Eliza’s case study is one among many case studies meaning that if the issue of uninsured will go unresolved, then the consequences of non-insurance will be dire in our communities.
The stakeholders of this issue include the national and state governments, hospitals, government officials, and insurance companies among other well-wishers. The state and federal governments are the main stakeholders because they make policies relating to health and unemployment. The hospitals, on the other hand, treat patients and charge medical fees they feel are the right ones. Accordingly, they play significant roles in health care. Government officials play significant roles in pushing national agendas; thus, they can contribute significantly in reducing the number of uninsured persons in the country (Roby et al., 2013). Above all, insurance companies set premiums whereas well-wishers, such as non-governmental organizations and faith-based organizations can mitigate the impact of the issue by assisting in one way or the other.
In terms of benefits, the state and federal governments would benefit significantly if the uninsured persons would be insured. Hospitals, on the other hand, would not have unpaid medical bills whereas the other stakeholders would enjoy the benefits indirectly.
Impact of the Issue
Inasmuch as we would want to ignore this issue, its consequences are dire. Therefore, we cannot ignore it because it will affect our health care system negatively. Largely, it will increase the number of patients in our national hospitals with unmanageable medical bills if we let it to continue the way it is. In reality, I might not be able to emphasize the medical debts that will accumulate in our hospitals and the number of people we are likely to lose for lack of health insurance coverage. Indeed, given that majority of the uninsured people are between the ages of 18 years and 34 years, it is clear that majority of these people are likely to die prematurely (Dauner, & Thompson, 2014). This will not only reduce the number of young people in our societies, but it will also reduce the workforce in our beloved country. As a result, our economy might not be able to grow as projected.
To make the matter worse, taxpayers will continue to bear the burden of noninsurance if the number of uninsured people continues to grow. The issue might exacerbate if taxpayers fall sick and they are prompted to work for fewer hours than they ought to work for. This will mean that government will lose income from taxes. As a result, the government will not be able to finance some of its projects (Tanner, 2013). This notwithstanding, the transmission of contagious diseases from the uninsured people in our societies is likely to increase. As a result, the members of the public are likely to incur unnecessary medical bills for treating these communicable diseases.
In the last economic recession, there are no doubts that majority of the people lost their jobs. They too lost their insurance coverage because most of them were covered by their employers. Although the economy has recovered since then, it is highly likely that some of the people that lost their jobs during that time are yet to recover from the shock they received then. In fact, it is highly likely that majority of these people are yet to regain their health insurance coverage because of the rising cost of health insurance (Tanner, 2013). As this takes place, it is highly likely that majority of the people without insurance cover will not go for screening exercises. This means that preventive care services in our health system will be undermined if not compromised. At the same time, the uninsured will delay seeking medical attention meaning that the number of people with chronic diseases in our societies will go up. Mr. Senator, the implication of noninsurance is complicated, and if it will not get the attention it deserves, it will hit us and our health system badly.
The number of the uninsured people in USA continues to rise on annual basis. Back in 2013, the number was about 42 million people. Last year, this number had risen to 48 million even if about 10 million of these people were not U.S citizens (Dauner, & Thompson, 2014). This notwithstanding, there seems to be an upward trend of the uninsured in the country meaning that the number is likely to grow on annual basis if nothing is not done about this issue. Inasmuch as the national government deserves some respect for covering about 34.3 percent of the population as it was the case in 2013, it seems that the government needs to do more than this because of the inherent challenges. As a government official, Mr. Senator, you will bear witness that the number of people dying from killer diseases continues to rise as CDC depicts (Birnbaum, 2012). You will also bear witness that the government is somewhat reluctant in offering health care to all the citizens that deserve health care even if it introduced the affordable care act (ACA) last year. Consequently, inasmuch as the government has been on the frontline in the fight against cancer and other killer diseases through ACA, the government is yet to do enough.
According to Rice at al. (2014), the number of people that will be uninsured come 2016 will be about 21 million people. This number of people will be uninsured because their states did not abide by the affordable health act meaning that some of those who would be covered by Medicaid will not be covered by it (Birnbaum, 2012). Others will not have health insurance coverage because they cannot still afford it even with subsides. The immigrants, on the other hand, will lack insurance coverage because of their immigration status.
The key driver of this issue is low-income among the poor people living in rural areas and in some parts of urban centers. The other key driver of lack of health insurance in our country is age. In fact, there is no doubt that majority of the uninsured persons in USA are those aged between 18 and 34 years of age (Dauner, & Thompson, 2014). This means that those without formal employment are at the risk of lacking health insurance coverage. At the same time, immigrants and children are also among the vulnerable groups.
Potential solutions to the issue
The evidence contained in this paper depict that urgent solutions need to be developed to help the uninsured people in USA. The writer recommends the following as the potential solutions to the problem.
- That measures need to be put in place to ensure that all uninsured people are able to access free medical checkups for cancer, diabetes and other killer diseases.
- That measures to identify people with killer diseases such as cancer and diabetes need to be developed to reach the poor people in our communities.
- Educative programs need to be established to create awareness among the uninsured and poor people in our communities as to how they can obtain cheap insurance covers and free medical checkups.
- Insurance companies should be compelled to revise their premiums so that employees with low income can afford health insurance. At the same time, these companies should not be allowed to charge high premiums to uninsured persons with pre-existing conditions such as Eliza has. Instead, they should be forced to develop reasonable premiums.
- That the 50 percent of the states that have declined to implement the affordable care act should be lobbied to implement this act as soon as possible. The successful case studies of the other 50 percent of the states that have implemented this act should be cited to persuade the other states to implement the act (Rice at al., 2014).
To implement the proposed solutions, the government should start by urging states to distance themselves from politicizing the ACA issue as they have been politicizing it. Once the federal government succeeds on this issue, it should urge these states to support it in implementing the act. As this takes place, the government should compel insurance companies to revise their premiums so that health insurance can be affordable. If the government will succeed on this issue, it will be able to subsidize health insurance as it has promised (Rice at al., 2014).
At the same time, the government should partner with faith-based organizations (FBOs) and other non-governmental organizations in offering affordable health care. As for the faith-based organizations, the government should convince these organizations to assist in offering affordable health care to people living in rural areas and in remote areas. In addition, the federal government should subsidize medical services at all FBOs medical centers. With regard to NGOs, the government should encourage these organizations to participate in creating awareness among the members of the public concerning free medical checkups and their availability (Roby et al., 2013). Finally, the government should pass a law making it mandatory for all immigrants to have medical insurances before they are allowed into the country. If the government is to pass such a law, then all immigrants will have medical covers thereby none will be uninsured.
If the government is to implement this policy, the issue of uninsured immigrants will be dealt with in totality. Consequently, the government will only be worried about the unemployed and the poor people in our communities. As for these people, the government with the help of NGOs, FBOs and state governments will be able to reduce this number significantly. In fact, if the state governments that have not embraced the ACA were to embrace it, then the number of uninsured persons will reduce significantly. Furthermore, if the government was to partner with FBOs in offering subsidized medical services, the poor people in our communities would be able to access health care services (Roby et al., 2013). At the same time, if the government was to partner with NGOs in creating awareness, then poor people in our communities are likely to seek medical attention immediately they need them. Most importantly, if the government would be able to compel insurance companies to revise their premiums, then health insurance would be affordable to more people. As a result, the challenges that come with lack of medical insurances will be dealt with, and they will no longer be there.
Birnbaum, D. (2012). North American perspective: a different kind of public healthcare system. Clinical governance: an international journal, 17(3), 248-252.
Dauner, K., & Thompson, J. (2014). Young adult’s perspectives on being uninsured and implications for health reform. The qualitative report, 19(8), 1-15.
Rice, T. et al. (2014). Challenges facing the United States of America in implementing universal coverage. Bull world health organ, 92: 894-902.
Roby, D. et al. (2013). Modeling the impact of the affordable care act and the individual mandate on Californians. J Fam Econ iss, 34: 16-28.
Tanner, M. (2013). The patient protection and affordable care act: a dissenting opinion. J Fam Econ Iss, 34: 3-15.