Fact Checked

Affordable Care Act: Pros and Cons

Exactly what is the Affordable Care Act? The Affordable Care Act is a federal statute that has affected patients across the United States and determined the way patients receive medical care, treatment, and prescription drugs from their healthcare providers. The ACA became law in March of 2010 and is the first significant change to health plans since 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law by the 111th United States Congress. 

Although the Affordable Care Act was designed to help provide higher-quality insurance to patients, in many cases patients have experienced increased costs for important prescription medications (both generic drugs and brand name drugs). If you are facing disadvantages due to the effects of the Affordable Care Act, USA Rx can help. To understand more about the systematic changes in the healthcare system, we have compiled our own list of affordable health care act pros and cons. 

The Affordable Care Act’s Mission Statement

The Affordable Care Act, also referred to as ACA, was created with three goals in mind: 1) increasing the number of those insured, making healthcare more affordable, and reducing the cost of health coverage. When the ACA was introduced, 20 million people went from being uninsured to being insured. However, 6 million people lost their insurance and many more found that their prescription drug costs rose dramatically. The ACA has made clear strives towards helping people with their health benefits, but has also created problems for patients depending on who will be affected by the affordable care act. 

The mission statement of the Affordable Care Act showcased clear goals for the piece of legislation but the reality has been filled with affordable care act pros and cons. Most physicians agree that more people now have insurance coverage, but the quality of care has not improved. Overall healthcare costs have fallen but patients find that prescription costs have risen. This is particularly true for patients who had employer sponsored healthcare plans prior to the enactment of ACA. 

The Affordable Care Act is also stagnated between two political parties. It was enacted into law by Democratic president Barack Obama, but was not widely accepted by the Republican party. Adding legislation that might alter the ACA and improve upon it has been close to impossible since 2010. Republicans have stalled all legislation and attempted to overturn ACA while Democrats cannot get provisional legislation through both government bodies. This has created a stagnated law that will not be altered quickly. The best thing for patients to do is to understand how this law has affected them, both positively and negatively, and ask what does the Affordable Care Act cover? A thorough understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of the Affordable Care Act can help patients figure out the best way to take control of their healthcare with the prescription medication and treatments that they need to for their pre-existing medical conditions. 

How The Affordable Care Act Has Helped Patients

When it comes to helping patients, the Affordable Care Act has primarily focused on helping those who were previously uninsured. More than 40 million people were uninsured in 2010 before ACA was signed into law. These people did not have access to basic care because they could not afford it. When a potential problem arose, they were unable to visit a healthcare provider and begin treatment. They also were unable to screen for potential future problems and prevent them from escalating. As problems escalated, patients had to turn to emergency rooms and access higher levels of care because they were now facing more serious health problems. This, in turn, drove up health care costs and also pushed the uninsured into mounting medical debt as well as severely impacted their quality of life. 

An example of this uninsured problem with preventative care can be seen in many diabetes type 2 cases. Imagine a woman who is uninsured and begins to have common diabetes systems such as feeling very thirsty, feeling tired, experiencing blurry vision, urinating more frequently, and tingling or numbness in hands or feet. She knows something is wrong and wants to get tested, but she is uninsured and cannot afford a doctor’s visit or screening tests out-of-pocket. Her systems continue to worsen because she has not been diagnosed with diabetes and she does not have medication. 

One day, she wakes up with no feeling in her feet and must go to the emergency room. Her foot has turned blue and doctors cannot save it. Her foot has to be amputated. Now, she is screened and put on diabetes medication for her diabetes 2 condition. All of this costs significantly more than a simple diabetes type 2 test and medication, both of which could have been given to her when she first noticed symptoms. Now, she will have a lower quality of living, and decreased mental health from significant medical debt. ACA is most powerful because it helps to eliminate this problem with preventative services. 

Preventative services under the Affordable Care Act are free. All health insurance plans are required to offer preventative services including diabetes screening, cancer screening, gynecological exams, pregnancy care, and basic lab work. Children also have preventative benefits that include screening for common childhood ailments and diseases such as obesity or ADHD. Required immunizations for both children and adults are also covered under ACA. Expensive treatments can be avoided with preventive services. Preventative services were not just given to the uninsured under ACA, but they were added to every health insurance plan in the health insurance marketplace so that all people have basic preventative care benefits. 

How The Affordable Care Act Has Harmed Patients

The cancellations of existing health insurance policies provided by employers had a negative impact on many Americans. Those Americans were forced to find new health insurance or transition to other employer sponsored plans. These insurance plans all included preventative care benefits as well as other service benefits that were not covered by their previous employer sponsored plan. To absorb the cost of adding these benefits, insurance premiums went up and many people found that their health insurance coverage actually cost more. 

If patients find themselves without a health care plan because their employer has made changes, then they have to enter the healthcare exchange network to choose a new plan. There are significant tax burdens assigned to patients who do not have long or short-term health insurance. This was designed to force patients to choose health care plans and stay insured. If employers transitioned to a new health insurance plan framework, however, not all employees were able to take part because costs rose significantly. These employees were left to purchase personal health insurance outside of their employer to stay insured and to keep their loved ones insured. 

The other primary problem with the Affordable Care Act is that prescription medication costs have risen. The Affordable Care Act added both taxes and fees towards pharmaceutical companies, which have been passed back to the patient. Drug manufacturers were unhappy with the added costs (designed to pay for ACA) and decided to pass those costs on to patients who need prescription medication. In fact, the Wall Street Journal noted that drug costs have risen nearly 10% since ACA was passed. Drug companies have also said that research now costs substantially more and the only way to continue research is to charge patients.

These issues are left up to politicians to change, but what can patients do to help themselves? Patients are left with little recourse when it comes to their prescription medication. They must take their medication to stay healthy and treat their conditions, but the out-of-pocket expenses continue to rise. This is where USA Rx comes in. 

USA Rx Pharmacy Discount Card Program Can Help

If the affordable care act advantages and disadvantages have affected your ability to pay for your medications, then you need the USA Rx Pharmacy Discount Card Program. Our program was designed to meet the needs of patients who find that their drug costs have increased, on average, 2% to 40% per month. USA Rx is available for patients who have more than 1 prescription. There is no registration to check eligibility and simply downloading the pharmacy discount card gives you access to our program. 

USA Rx is 100% free for all users and our USA Rx Card can be used as many times as you like. USA Rx is accepted by more than 60,000 pharmacies across the United States and offers immediate savings. Simply, print out your card, bring it with you to the pharmacy when picking up your FDA approved prescription drugs, and start saving money today. Pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, Target, The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, Walmart, Kroger, and Albertsons Savon Pharmacy all accept the USA Rx Card. 

If you are now at a disadvantage due to the Affordable Care Act, the USA Rx program can help you afford to fill your prescription medication. The USARx pharmacy discount card program helps users save money as well as access the prescription drugs that they need. Contact us today to learn more about how our program can help you save money and maintain vital access to your regular prescription drugs.