The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is the major health reform regulation with a large variety of sub-sections addressing the problems of American healthcare. The law provides additional benefits and rights both to patients and working professionals (Courtemanche et al., 2018). Consequently, one of the most impactful changes of ACA is Medicaid expansion, which is a common name for insurance assistance to people with low incomes and resources (Courtemanche et al., 2018). The current paper thoroughly examines the Medicaid aspect of ACA, discusses the relevance of the regulation, and proposes a direct solution on how to improve the framework.
Before analyzing the impact of the reform, it is essential to provide a brief overview of Medicaid. In general, this term refers to a collaboration between federal and state officials to create an insurance program for people with low resources or disabilities (“Affordable care act”, 2021). At present, Medicaid covers the largest share of public insurance with approximately 20% of total costs, while Medicare provides compensation for nearly 14% (“Affordable care act”, 2021). This information transparently demonstrates the effectiveness of the policy and designates its significance to American healthcare.
Impact of Medicaid Expansion
ACA Medicaid expansion has significantly improved the accessibility of healthcare in the United States. By 2019, more than fourteen million people have gained access to insurance specifically due to expansion (Andrews et al., 2019). Furthermore, the research transparently demonstrates the effectiveness of the act on the example of various medical conditions. For instance, Loehrer et al. (2018) show the positive correlation between accessible healthcare and timely surgical intervention. Additionally, Han et al. (2020) discovered that Medicaid expansion positively affected the incentives of people to seek mental health help. In other words, various experts indicate that more accessible healthcare results in overall health improvement among the people.
Restrictions of Medicaid Expansion and Potential Improvements
One of the commonly discussed restrictions of Medicaid expansion is the interaction between federal and state legislative powers. At present, there are twelve states that have not implemented Medicaid support due to procedural errors, delays, and other economic reasons (Norris, 2021). The graphic illustration of Medicaid expansion distribution is presented below in Figure 1:
Nevertheless, regardless of the causes, the lack of Medicaid expansion in these states leaves millions of people without affordable care, which is a significant problem on the national scale (Rudowitz et al., 2021). One of the potential solutions to the issue is to implement additional financial incentives for the states to adopt Medicaid expansion. At present, some states reject the policy due to economic and political reasons; however, the studies demonstrate that these states are continually losing money due to rejection (Rudowitz et al., 2021). Therefore, the direct solution to the problem is the implementation of additional stimuli, such as funding, marketing, or political incentives, on the federal level.
ACA Medicaid expansion is an exemplary initiative in the healthcare segment that has allowed more than fourteen million people to apply to the insurance programs. Nevertheless, at present, there are twelve states that have yet to adopt the policy, and a large number of low-income people cannot get access to Medicaid because of it. Healthcare is a matter of utmost significance and should be accessible to everyone. The direct solution to the problem is to create additional incentives for state officials on the federal level. Ultimately, ACA Medicaid expansion has demonstrated positive results both in financial and healthcare segments, and it is essential to implement the policy in the remaining twelve states.
Affordable care act Medicaid expansion. (2021). National Conference of State Legislatures. Web.
Andrews, C. M., Pollack, H. A., Abraham, A. J., Grogan, C. M., Bersamira, C. S., D’aunno, T., & Friedmann, P. D. (2019). Medicaid coverage in substance use disorder treatment after the Affordable Care Act. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 102, 1-7.
Courtemanche, C., Marton, J., Ukert, B., Yelowitz, A., & Zapata, D. (2018). Effects of the Affordable Care Act on health care access and self-assessed health after 3 years. INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, 55, 0046958018796361.
Han, B., Lai, J., & Yu, H. (2020). Impact of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion on utilization of mental health care. Medical Care, 58(9), 757-762.
Loehrer, A. P., Chang, D. C., Scott, J. W., Hutter, M. M., Patel, V. I., Lee, J. E., & Sommers, B. D. (2018). Association of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion with access to and quality of care for surgical conditions. JAMA surgery, 153(3).
Norris, L. (2021). A state-by-state guide to Medicaid expansion, eligibility, enrollment and benefits. HealthInsurance. Web.
Rudowitz, R., Corallo, B., & Garfield, R. (2021). New incentive for states to adopt the ACA Medicaid expansion: Implications for state spending. KFF. Web.