One of the most significant changes in healthcare management was the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This act made health insurance accessible to all Americans regardless of their pre-existing conditions. This piece of the act alone has already effected healthcare management. This paper will answer the question in detail and explain how the ways the ACA, in some cases, has already effected healthcare management and will continue to effect healthcare management. The ACA will be explored from its beginning, to passage, to implementation. The advantages and disadvantages of ACA will be discussed in relation to impact on healthcare management.
PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the official name of what many commonly refer to as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. It is the comprehensive healthcare reform law in the United States that was enacted in March 2010. The primary three goals of the law were to: make health insurance affordable and accessible to more people, expand Medicaid, and promote lower cost, innovative health care delivery methods (Affordable Care). This is a brief list of the more comprehensive list of goals accomplished by the enactment of this law. These three goals have the greatest impact on healthcare management.
The enactment of ACA added approximately 46 million individuals to the number of people with insurance coverage in America (Rosenbaum). Using a multi-strategic plan, the act allowed different groups across different demographics to gain and/or access insurance plans they had either lost coverage for or were never qualified for, such as those individuals with pre-existing conditions. The federal marketplace and state level exchanges create an easier method of access for purchasing coverage by placing all qualified plans in one convenient location (Rosenbaum).
The Medicaid expansion in the ACA extends coverage to low-income people who are 138% of the federal poverty level (Holahan et al.). This expansion covers individuals of all ages who may have been denied or excluded from coverage under the previous terms for Medicaid coverage. The expansion included childless adults who normally do not fall into any of Medicaid’s defined categories for coverage. Although, this is not a national expansion, as many as 19 states (How The Affordable) have opted not to extend this coverage to their constituents after the Supreme Court decision that allows states to opt out of this portion of ACA (Rosenbaum & Westmoreland). The decision also lowered the poverty level requirement to 133% instead of 138% (Rosenbaum & Westmoreland).
IMPACT ON HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT
As stated above, the ACA had three major goals, and each of those goals greatly impact healthcare management in different, challenging ways. The first goal was increasing access to affordable healthcare. Increasing access to care means an increase in the number of people being served by healthcare institutions. Affordability also increases the number of people who will now access health care that otherwise would not have sought care before. Low-income adults and nonelderly adults have reduced delaying or not seeking medical care (Kominski et al. 495). However this increase does not equate to a negative for healthcare administration because there is an increase in outpatient services and preventative care (Kominski et al. 496).
The second goal, expanding Medicaid, has an impact on healthcare management too. Some of the impact appears to be overlap from goal one and goal three such as added service use and quality of care (Mazurenko, Olena et al.) Rosenbaum provides the most comprehensive explanation of how Medicaid has allowed the way healthcare is provided and paid for to change. The changes push for more clinically integrated work, consistent measurement and reporting of quality and performance, and improvements in quality for admissions and readmission for those with serious or chronic health issues. The ACA Medicaid expansion also added options for community-based care, which relieve emergency care and assist with reduced health care costs (Rosenbaum).
The third goal was improving healthcare delivery and this includes quality, efficiency, and accountability. This is achieved through different metrics such as patient surveys, readmissions, and quality of life (Lazar et al. 2013). Prior to passage of the ACA, doctors were paid a fee for the services they provided and no consideration was given to the quality of that service. In essence, a person could go in and receive top-notch service and would pay the same fee to a great physician as they would have paid to a physician who was negligent and careless. After ACA, healthcare providers are now receiving incentives for the quality of their work (How Insurance Changes). All of these changes will also lead to a change in the quality of the workforce being sought out for employment, but more immediately, it has left a shortage of qualified workers to deal with this increased workload (Morrissey, Taryn).
In conclusion, yes, the ACA will impact healthcare management. The ACA impacted healthcare management the day it was signed. In some ways, the changes have been advantageous for those in healthcare administration. In other ways, the changes have created some burdens that did not exist before, but these burdens are necessary to reap the rewards built in implementation of the law. The ACA impacts the policy that healthcare is practiced through. It has only been eight years since the ACA was enacted and all of its provisions have not gone into effect. It will be some years before the complete measurable impact is revealed. At the present, healthcare management is faced with the challenge of recruiting, training, and hiring capable healthcare workers to answer the call of the current public health needs.Will the Affordable Care Act Effect Healthcare Management?
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