Could you elaborate on uninsured issues from a healthcare perspective over the next 3 years regarding cost, quality, and access?

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Obviously, the single biggest change to the healthcare industry over the next three years will be the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.  Insurance companies will have to adjust their plans that they offer to comply with the legislation and businesses with over 50 employees will have to comply with rules on what they offer for health insurance to their employees.

The law is an attempt to reduce the number of uninsured people by making it more affordable to sick people and require all people to purchase insurance through the mandate.  The people who will benefit the most from the new law are people prone to illness due to a pre-existing condition.  Before the law, these people could not afford healthcare outside of a major employer due to the high prices the insurance companies charged.  Now they will not be penalized.  Also, women will not be charged a higher price than men for the same insurance coverage.  Others who will benefit will be people who work for themselves and did not have access to affordable group health care.

Unfortunately, the law did nothing to address what I believe is the biggest problem in healthcare: cost.  Access to healthcare has been limited not by interest but by cost.  When healthcare costs so much money, fewer people will be able to afford it and have access to it.  Healthcare costs are still going up (so far) with Obamacare, so affordable overall access to healthcare may not be improved.  Quality tends to follow a similar relationship with cost.  As cost goes up, access goes down and quality tends to rise since fewer people are accessing the system.  If more people access the healthcare system but the number of healthcare providers does not increase, then the quality will likely drop over time.  As you can see, this is a highly complicated situation with many factors involved, both financial and ethical.  Only some time will truly tell how this will all pan out.