Health Care Reform Bill Pros and Cons List

A health care reform bill is designed to make major changes to existing health care laws on local, regional, and/or national levels. One of the most recent examples of such a bill was the American Health Care Act of 2017. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 217-213, but failed in the Senate.

The goal of the bill was to make changes to the Affordable Care Act, which is popularly known as “Obamacare.”

The primary benefit of a health care reform bill is that it can fix errors or problems that is present under the current legislation. It can close loopholes, reduce individual costs, increase care, or include more demographics that benefit from the legislation.

The disadvantage of a health care reform bill is that it is often used as a political tool. The political party in the majority often uses the reform bill as a way to target specific policies and procedures that they feel conflict with their platform. This may come at the expense of those who benefit from the current legislation.

Here are some additional key health care reform bill pros and cons to discuss.

List of Health Care Reform Bill Pros

1. It can repeal unwanted or unneeded items.
For the American Health Care Act of 2017, one of the most popular advantages that the bill provided was a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s personal mandate. The mandate requires individuals to either purchase health insurance or pay a “fine” in the form of extra taxes. In essence, it forced people to purchase insurance or experience a tax increase – both which cost money to hard-working families.

2. It can reduce government deficits.
Deficits are created when more money is spent than is brought in. If you want a PS4, but pay for $50 of it with a credit card, you’ve created a $50 deficit. The Affordable Care Act created subsidies for low-income individuals so they could purchase healthcare, but didn’t bring in enough with monthly premiums and the individual mandate to actually pay for the subsidies. A health care reform bill can change this.

3. It can eliminate discrimination.
One of the primary issues with health care is that people with pre-existing conditions are often charged more for their care. Sometimes, these pre-existing conditions come through no fault of the person. A health care reform bill can stop insurance and medical providers from taking advantage of those who need deeper levels of care.

4. It creates needed systematic change.
Before Obamacare, insurance rates, deductibles, and coverage eligibility were spiraling out of control. Fewer people could find coverage and it was expensive when they could find it. That created a system of subsidies and requirements that the American Health Care Act of 2017 attempted to fix. With a reform bill, it becomes possible to create the systematic change that improves societal care.

List of Health Care Reform Bill Cons

1. It will often raise medical costs.
Health care reform bills are typically used to increase individual access to the care that is needed. Increased access often creates increased costs. Patients may experience higher costs with a visit to their primary care provider, higher monthly insurance costs, higher deductibles – or all of the above.

2. It may limit coverage availability.
In the United States, healthcare ratings are consistently the worst of any other industrialized nation. Health care in the U.S. is not a guarantee, which it is in every other industrialized nation. A health care reform bill could change this or refine coverage for individuals already covered in a “universal” plan. Any changes, however, will often create a greater lack of access to certain groups of people.

3. It can create access issues.
When the Affordable Care Act was treated as a health care reform bill, many small, rural communities found themselves with doctor shortages. In Port Townsend, WA, for example, appointments with a primary care provider went from being scheduled 30 days in advance to 180 days in advance. Any reform effort can improve access, but can also create access issues that must be solved.

4. It may cut funding to other programs.
The American Health Care Act of 2017 called for cuts to Planned Parenthood funding. As a result, the reform bill would have limited healthcare resources in low-income areas, furthering the issues that the Affordable Care Act exposed. About 1 in 5 people would have lost reproductive healthcare services if this reform bill had passed.

Every health care reform bill has unique pros and cons that must be considered. There will always be “winners” and “losers” in every bill that a government passes. By evaluating the key points of each bill, it becomes possible to know what changes can maximize societal benefits.