The United States spends more of its gross domestic product on health care than any other county, and yet the American Journal of Public Health estimates that nearly 45,000 Americas die each year due to lack of adequate healthcare. In fact, our healthcare system ranks 37th out of the 191 countries graded by the World Health Organization. Given these grim facts, I certainly agree that America needs to reform its healthcare system. However, I do not believe that the current healthcare reform enacted by the Obama administration is what this country needs right now.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) does not go far enough to fix the underlying issues within this broken system. It is simply a bandage on an open wound. The fundamental problem with the American healthcare system is the profit driven privatized health insurance companies. The PPACA fails miserably to reign in these unregulated privatized healthcare systems. The law doesn’t have a Public Option, a means to negotiate with drug companies with existing patents, and won’t hold large hospitals to Medicare rates.
Furthermore, insurance companies will get a massive influx of new customers but their rates will not be regulated. Even the few regulations that are in the PPACA are somewhat lax. For example the PPACA supposedly prevents health insurance companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions; however the fine for not doing so is only one hundred dollars a day. Thus, it would still be cheaper for these companies to deny coverage and pay a small penalty.
Furthermore, the appeals process built into the PPACA to handle these situations is awkward and murky. I can appreciate that the PPACA is an attempt to fix the broken health care system in the United States. However, as one of the riches countries in the world we can do far better. I believe that health insurance should be seen as a public service. The United States should have either a single-payer system or at least a public option along with strong regulation of the healthcare industry.
It would have been far more popular to simply expand Medicare. Instead, the Democrats along with the insurance lobbyist concocted a law that places too much pressure on the poor and middle class while providing huge amounts of corporate welfare. Certainly in many respects the PPACA is very reminiscent of the failed Republican healthcare plan of 1993. It is not surprising that many Americans don’t feel that it goes far enough to alleviate the health care crisis.