Americans Disheartened by Changes in U.S. Healthcare System

Americans Disheartened by Changes in U.S. Healthcare System Despite the many purported triumphs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a large portion of the U.S. populace believes that their healthcare is decidedly worse following these major health reforms.  ACA, more popularly known as Obamacare, was intended to improve quality of care, expand access and curtail rampant cost increases, but few people feel it has achieved these goals.  A new poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that only 15 percent of respondents feel that healthcare has improved.  More than 50 percent felt that there was no change in the quality of care, while 30 percent actually believe that care quality has dropped in the past year. Although the Obama administration has constantly repeated that almost 20 million more Americans now possess health coverage, this most recent poll suggests that many Americans are losing access to their personal physician.  Almost 24 percent of those polled said they lost access to their doctor in the past year because of changes to their insurer’s coverage network. When President Barack Obama proposed ACA, he said, “Every single good idea to bend the cost curve and start actually reducing healthcare costs is in this bill.” He went on to argue that the typical American family would save almost $2,500 in health care expenses annually. The reality, of course, is starkly different. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that the per capita health insurance spending in 2016 will be $7,786, and this is expected to balloon to $11,681 by 2024. In spite of the best efforts of government agencies like Medicare, the cost of healthcare continues to skyrocket.  Many of their most touted projects, like value-based payment systems and accountable care organizations, have produced, at best, only modest cost savings. More importantly, the Medicaid expansion costs vastly outweigh even the most optimistic savings projections. The per capita cost for each Medicaid enrollee is growing at an astronomical pace.  The cost per enrollee was $5,488 in 2014, but this jumped to $6,366 in 2016, a 16 percent increase. This, as well as other expenses, has federal agencies constantly readjusting the projected costs of Obamacare.  From about $63 billion in 2016, the annual cost should grow to almost $125 billion in 2025, according to a March 2016 projection, a jump from $105 billion in a projection made only a year before. Unlike other healthcare initiatives like Medicare and Medicaid that have become accepted by American society, Obamacare remains intensely disliked by a large part of the country.  According to a Pew Research Center poll in April 2016, 44 percent of respondents approved of ACA, while 54 percent disapproved. Not surprisingly, the country is almost equally split on the future of Obamacare.  According to a May 2016 Gallup poll, almost 51 percent of respondents favored the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  However, a similar poll conducted at the same time found that 22 percent agreed that ACA had helped their families, the highest response since 2012.

Artcle written by: Robert Moghim, M.D. – CEO, Moghim Medical Consulting Inc.

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