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Understanding America’s pursuit to improve quality healthcare

Article-Understanding America’s pursuit to improve quality healthcare

Image via Canva Pro American healthcare
A look at the history of the United States and her journey in healthcare reforms.

Healthcare reforms in the United States have a long-standing history and date back to as early as 1912 when President Theodore Roosevelt promised national health insurance during his re-election campaign. Though Roosevelt was not successful, the topic of changing the face of healthcare in America enjoyed unsurpassed attention from lawmakers and political parties. In the past, we witnessed several US presidents attempting to bring in healthcare reforms during their power but without success.  

However, some of the significant efforts by American presidents towards making health coverage universal were of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Harry Truman, who significantly pushed for a national insurance program; Lyndon B. Johnson; whose Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law in 1965 soon after he assumed office; and Richard Nixon, who introduced the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan or CHIP in 1974. 

And lastly, it was United States’ 44th President Barack Obama who successfully signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, ensuring every American has access to quality and affordable healthcare.  

Understanding Affordable Care Act 

The Affordable Care Act, also popularly known as ACA, is a comprehensive healthcare reform law and its amendments. Enacted in 2010, ACA is aimed at addressing health insurance coverage, health care costs, and preventive care.   

‘The ACA exchanges offer subsidies based on income that help cut health insurance costs for Americans who qualify. The ACA also allows states to expand Medicaid to more people by lowering income requirements to get coverage’. 

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Besides the subsidies, the ACA also offers several other benefits like prohibiting lifetime monetary caps on health insurance plans, forbidding insurers from cancelling it unless there is a fraud, preventing health insurers to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, requiring insurers to use at least a minimum percentage of premiums to pay for members’ medical services, and allowing parents to keep children on their health insurance until the age of 26, to name a few.  

Significant development in US health reform 

A recent significant development in public health reform in the country aimed at reducing healthcare costs in the country with Joe Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law.  

The bill allows Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices, caps out-of-pocket costs for seniors to $2,000 per month, and extend the expanded Affordable Care Act program for three years, through 2025. 

But despite significant strides made in the US healthcare space, Americans still feel there is a long way to go. According to recent annual Health and Healthcare survey by Gallup, an American advisory and analytics firm, the findings highlight that ‘for the first time in Gallup’s two-decade trend, less than half of Americans are complimentary about the quality of U.S. healthcare, with 48 per cent rating it “excellent” or “good”. The slight majority now rate healthcare quality as subpar, including 31 per cent saying it is “only fair” and 21 per cent — a new high — calling it “poor”’. 

High costs, quality of healthcare coverage, and accessibility to healthcare services top the list of issues and some Americans also deem it as one of the nation’s foremost problems. This clearly indicates that though America’s focus on providing quality healthcare for its people has been over a century old and continues to be a key topic in the country, reforms need to be brought in to improve and meet the healthcare expectations of its citizens.  

Looking ahead, healthcare leaders in the US are playing a role in raising awareness, educating a new generation of movers and shakers, and implementing best practices in their respective fields to ensure quality patient delivery.  

Visit the Florida International Medical Expo (FIME) in Miami to learn more

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