After 3 long years, the countdown to the Health Care exchanges is coming to an end. While a lot of the confusion and uncertainty brought on by the heavily-debated 2010 Affordable Care Act remains, the October 1 deadline beckons, as we approach a new age of ‘Health Care for All’ here in the US.
There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act was seen as a huge political victory for the Obama Administration. But the question of whether or not it will prove a historic one, also lingers. As employers and citizens seek consultation on the best possible Health Insurance plan, a number of hiccups, including the recent postponement of the employer’s mandate, not to mention the 17 states who have opted out of ‘Obamacare’, have left many US citizens wondering whether or not Health Care Reform will actually work.
What exactly are we working towards?
‘Obamacare’ legislates that all US citizens must have some form of Health Care coverage come January 2014. Those who fail to buy Health Insurance by the turn of the year will be subject to hefty fines. The scheme also calls on large employers to provide Health Care coverage to employees, provided they have over 50 working staff. Making it a legal obligation for people to have Health Insurance is seen as the most effective way to achieve nationwide coverage come 2018, and while some states have opted out of a federal health insurance exchange, they have devised their own initiatives to roll out state-wide Health Care by January 2014.
Convincing the people
Up until now, the Obama Administration’s Health Care Reform initiative has received heavy criticism from various bodies and media figures from different backgrounds. But the White House ensures, job-growth, new and improved health care facilities as well as practitioners, and increased localisation of Health Care services are at the heart of the initiative which thus far, hasn’t resulted in job losses. Convincing doubters is arguably the biggest challenge President Obama has had to face during his tenure, which ultimately will be defined by the success of Health Care Reform.
Nurturing before and after 2014
Legislation will count for very little come the end of 2014 unless the initiative is nurtured into existence, enforced and invested in. Investment from the Government is as important as investment from the people, who are the main beneficiaries of Health Care Reform. While January 2014 is seen as a new dawn, people must go out, consult their insurance brokers and find the best possible health insurance package for them and their loved ones. The future of US Health Care depends on people making that step, regardless of their current state of health or financial situation. The ‘Health Care for All’ initiative must be supported by all so it can benefit all.
The role of employers
Large employers are responsible for providing Health Care coverage for employees and in many ways, they are the backbone of the Obamacare initiative. Critics claim some employers may let go of staff to lower their books and avoid having to provide health insurance, but this puts the sustainability of the company in doubt and also puts a business in an impossible position where they can be held subject to fines and penalties. Health Care reform depends on employers, both large and small, learning about the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and working to accommodate employees in a way that both ensures their health and the long term health of the company itself.