During his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 28th, President Barack Obama briefly discussed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other aspects of the changing healthcare system. Many individuals were wary of how he would handle the topic. Would he discuss the flaws of the program or would he highlight its strengths? Apparently, he chose the latter. In the few minutes that Obama discussed the state of the healthcare system in America, he managed to elaborate on a few key issues including:
- The elimination of pre-existing conditions
- The millions of young adults still receiving care under their parents’ insurance plans
- The struggle between Republicans and Democrats over implementing the ACA
- The millions of adults who were able to sign up for private insurance or Medicaid under the ACA
- A reminder that uninsured individuals still need to sign up for insurance by the deadline
The response to these points was rather varied. Many people in the healthcare industry saw this as a step in the right direction. Due to the ACA, millions of adults and children have access to healthcare they were excluded from in the past. Obama also mentioned mental health problems, a topic that many were pleased to see being brought out into the open.
Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals were also disappointed that Obama failed to discuss the numerous challenges that the program has faced from the beginning. There are people that believe that Obama may fall short on several of the promises he’s made in regards to healthcare. Under the ACA, thousands of people have lost coverage. With the implementation of the ACA, many providers have dropped physicians, specialists, and entire practices, leaving patients without access to healthcare.
There are also others in healthcare that argue more should be done in other areas of government influence. Challenges in education and a weak economy have both been linked to poor healthcare. By improving a child’s access to quality care, the child’s chance of success in school improves tremendously. While some say that the ACA has accomplished this, others argue that there’s still work to be done in regards to education and the economy.
Most people agree that healthcare reform will only be truly successful if it manages to decrease costs and increase patient access; however, only time will tell whether or not the ACA is enough to meet these goals.
Author: Lauren Daniels