The Affordable Care Act in 2017 The Affordable Care Act is one of the most controversial topics of the past seven years, but very few actually understand the role it plays.

GLOSSARY

Mental Health Disorders- a health condition that affects a person's mood, thinking, or behavior

Ratification- Signing or giving formal consent to a law, act, or treaty

Domestic Violence- Violence or abuse within a household, typically at the hands of a partner or spouse

Contraceptives- a drug or service used to prevent pregnancy

Federally Funded Programs- Programs (typically domestic) that are directly funded by the government

Repeal- to revoke or discontinue a law or act

What are the Goals and Benefits of the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, is a health reform which targets low income and at risk groups who have not previously had access to healthcare which was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. The reform provides healthcare to those with preexisting conditions which are medical conditions where the individual was diagnosed previous to having insurance. This can include asthma, diabetes, cancer and mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. A much needed service in the 21st century is mental health and addiction services. Though this is true, New York Times writers Harold Pollack and Timothy S. Jost found that ⅓ of all plans previous to the ACA did not provide addiction coverage and ⅕ did not provide mental health services. The Affordable Care Act makes these expensive services available for a much lower price. Jamila Taylor with American Progress found another benefit to the ACA is that children are able to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until the age of 26. This lets many students get through college without having to worry about unexpected health blunders and extra costs. Previous to the ratification of the Affordable Care Act, discrimination on a gender basis was legal and used in most healthcare plans. In fact, Pollack and Jost also found that women could be charged up 50% more than men for insurance. To put this in perspective, many healthcare plans charged nonsmoking women more than smoking men for health insurance. With the ACA, more Americans are insured than ever before in United States history causing rates of people seeking medical care when needed to be greater which leads to a healthier country.

Barack Obama passed the Affordable Care Act on the 23rd of March in 2010, giving it the nickname of "Obamacare"

How does the affordable care act affect women's health?

Though many people are affected by the Affordable Care Act, women are impacted more than others. Over 9.5 million women gained health coverage through the ACA. One of the biggest benefits to women is that they can not be charged more for the sole reason that they are female. Because of this, one in every five women were not on health insurance before the ACA was put into action. A even higher number, more than half, of women delayed seeking medical care due to costs according to researcher Matthew Vallevan. Due to this, many women were diagnosed with certain diseases when they had progressed and they ended up paying much more anyways. The Affordable Care Act provides women with free or reduced mammograms and women’s wellness exams which are important in preventing and finding certain illnesses such as breast cancer and cervical cancer. Another service provided is domestic violence counselling proves important because a quarter of women and a seventh of men are victims of relationship violence as told by safety from violence organization Safe Horizon. Alongside this, the ACA works with mothers who are soon-to-be and post pregnancy by helping with prenatal care, breastfeeding equipment and pediatric care for the child. These programs that the Affordable Care Act utilizes helps women to be conscientious about her mental and physical health and also helps to create the best possible situation for the children she may bare leading to a better future for mother and child.

Women have a much better chance at receiving adequate health care with the Affordable Care Act

How does the affordable care act go hand in hand with planned parenthood?

Planned Parenthood is an organization that specializes with reproductive health of both men and women. Writer for American Progress Jamila Taylor found that five million people use the services provided every year. Most services offered are included within the benefits of the ACA. Of these are STI testing/treatment, access to low priced contraceptives, abortions and prenatal care. Contrary to popular belief, abortions make up less than 3% of all services provided according to Jamila Taylor. Another common misconception is that the Affordable Care Act provides free abortion procedures when in 1980 Harris v. McRae deemed that it was inappropriate for insurance companies to pay for said procedure (unless in a case of emergency such as rape or health of the mother) stated by Deborah R. McFarlane with the Association of Politics and the Life Sciences. Her research also proves that in places where women have little access to contraceptive services, abortion rates are higher, regardless of legality. Since over half of pregnancies in the United States are unintentional, services that range from termination to prenatal care and eventually pediatric care are essential for a woman to be able to take care of herself and a child in the best way possible. Planned Parenthood alongside the Affordable Care Act provides an outlet for women to obtain these services.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women are able to utilize Planned Parenthood's many services.

What would the EFFECTS be if the affordable care act was repealed?

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be detrimental to many people. A specific study was done based on the population and amount of people who utilize the Affordable Care Act in California. Over 4.6 million Californians gained health coverage in 2010 when the ACA was passed. The repeal of the ACA would mean that these people would become uninsured once again. Programs covered by the ACA in the state are Covered California and Medi-Cal, which are both federally funded programs. The overturn of the ACA would lead to these programs being drastically cut and the loss of $20 billion in federal funding according to Soumya Karlamangla with LA Times. Residents of California would not have the ability to get medical attention when it was needed. Jamila Taylor for American Progress found that since emergency rooms are forced to treat patients regardless of if they have health insurance, ERs all over California would be packed with people who do not have insurance which leads to a loss of money for the hospital and eventually the closing of many hospitals due to lack of funding. California itself would suffer socially and economically. This is just one example of what would happen in other states and nationally.

The dark green states have the highest usage of the ACA and would be affected in the same way as California.

What are the alternatives to the affordable care act and what are the effects?

The process to remove the Affordable Care Act has already begun. The Senate voted to repeal 51-49 according to Maya Parthasarathy. This is a very small win but still enough to go through with the action of repeal. The ideas for a replacement system have been tossed around, but a specific plan has not been agreed on. One of the newest proposals as of January 24th, 2017 is to place health care policy into the hands of each individual state. This would allow states to keep using the ACA, but CNN National Political Reporter MJ Lee states that this would cause a huge separation between state level and national level government. Many other options opt to keep some parts of the ACA and toss out others, but Lee also says that this is virtually impossible to do without keeping the whole thing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rebuttals the repeal by stating that "millions of Americans would be kicked off their plans, out-of-pocket costs and deductibles for consumers would skyrocket, employer-based coverage for working families would be disrupted” among many other negative effects, only giving tax breaks to the very wealthy. Alternatives are still in the works, but what has already been proposed proves not be be a beneficial situation for the most amount of people.

When the amount of uninsured Americans peaked in 2010, the ACA was ratified and the uninsured rate has been dropping since.

Works Cited

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