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Health Law and Regulations Essay

Health care is high on the list of the most regulated entities. Regulated by the government, the health care sector is also regulated by different private bodies. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) together with the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) and different medical specialties form part of the private health care regulatory entities that collaborate with the government. Health care regulation is focused on three main roles; cost control, quality control, and access expansion and control. These three functions are subdivided into objectives covering each aspect pertaining to the health care area.

While the regulatory program exists to accomplish the three above-mentioned objectives, the implementation of each objective affects one another. Example, quality control causes a reduction of access, and increases the cost because of an increase in demand. Despite the interdependence of these objectives, health care regulation does not indulge competition amongst the regulatory bodies. Important in the regulatory industry are those who engage each other with the same goal towards improving the health care. A majority of the health care regulatory federal agencies in America are comprised within the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The American constitution directs all health care regulators to obey the set legal process as their activities contain the potential to limit or breach the rights of health care. Health care is a high level of bureaucracy and extensive legal procedures. Regulators are provided a notice for their proposed regulation with findings to support it, after which the sector under regulation is allowed to contest or appeal the proposal. The legal process is appealed in every health care procedure, whether if it’s to test a new drug, suspend a practitioner’s license, or a regulation on environmental standards.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a health care regulation signed into law on the 23rd of March, 2010. The law’s main focus had been to increase the affordability and quality of American health insurance. Its policies were focused on lowering the rates imposed on the uninsured through the expansion of both the private and public insurance covers. It had also aimed to reduce the health care costs incurred by the government along with citizens. Barely seven days after its enforcement had a new health care law come into effect with amendments to the ACA. On March 30, 2010, the president of the United States signed into law the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. The law had been enacted by the 111th US congress (Blackman, 2013).

The ACA has advantages as disadvantages, and has been at the forefront of political criticism since its enactment. Its strongest opponents have cited it to be punitive of the high-end earners to cushion the middle and lower classes. It has also been reported to weigh heavily on the nation’s wage bill. In a nutshell, the ACA is designed to cover the majority of American’s health care insurance. However, the regulation’s cost factor has proven unsustainable without economically hurting the high earning entities. The effect of ACA’s implementation has caused an overall negative economic realignment as various entities strive to remain afloat; working hours have been significantly downsized by various corporations in anticipation of unsustainable insurance compliance.

The ACA regulation is seen as an economically crippling element in America’s overall economic composite. The enormous tax burden shouldered by high earning entities is evidenced to trickle down to the middle and low income earners which resultantly deduces the benefits intended for these groups in an even more severe way. To begin with, although the ACA provides affordable or free health care insurance to tens of millions of American populations, funding is raised through taxes. With a hike in taxes for health care funding, earning populations are left with less to spend. The American middle and low income groups are even more affected by the adverse effects as inflation sets in to recover the growing deficit induced by the
regulation’s implementation.

The ACA had been endorsed as an affordability initiative but the repercussive costs have indicated the regulation as a costly affair across the board. Insurance players report certain clauses in the regulation as detrimental to the process. An example is the regulations directive for insurance to extend their coverage even to sick uninsured people at no extra cost. The resultant effect has been the rise in insurance premium costs which further complicates the insurer’s role in the initiative. Nearly all the beneficial aspects within the regulation are countered with contradictory challenges that undermine its purpose.

While Medicaid is expanded by the regulation to cover an estimate 15.9 million citizens below 138% of the property level, the cost is met by state and federal funding which further imposes an immense measure of tax escalation. The regulation however features more benefits than limitations with regard to women initiatives. The ACA grants up to 47 million women access to health care services comprising wellness and preventative care. Additionally, the law prohibits women paying more than men for health care services as had been the case prior to enactment (Blackman, 2013).

The ACA regulation started 157 new agencies, boards and programs to oversee the efficient implementation of the law alongside regulating health care spending. Although there are negative cost implications associated with the huge oversight entities provisioned in the regulation, proponents argue these costs to be necessary in controlling the unaccounted health care expenditure (Blackman, 2013).

Employment in America is currently readjusting to comply with the regulation’s 2015 implementation phase requiring all employers to provide an insurance cover on their employees. The resultant effect to this change has been two faced; small business have been employing part time employees full time to comply with the 2015 mandate while large businesses have been reducing part time working hours to avoid paying the employees insurance when the phase is implemented.

The ACA is illustrated as a complex employment factor with many jobs feared to be lost as many new ones are created. Notably, the regulation projects an outcome where employees will freely leave their respective jobs without fear for losing retirement benefits affiliated to health care. Accordingly, the regulation aims to decrease employees working hours while maintaining and creating new employment opportunities. Despite the employment benefits highlighted within the ACA, many citizens remain skeptical of the upcoming 2015 employer-insurance phase. Dissenting political sentiments are pitching the impending reforms as a negative aspect of the ACA enactment set to diminish numerous job opportunities.

Federal and private health care regulation remains as an important component in the broader sense of the health industry covering every single aspect entailed in human health. The quality, cost and access control objectives are characteristic to every health related industry. With regard to personal experience, I have on several occasions observed medical licenses revoked for certain practitioners following a legal process to dispute the quality displayed by the practitioners in context. The two mentioned above 2010 health care regulations contain a complex and mostly long term agenda aimed at bettering the quality of health care services in America. The current challenges are largely short-term and should not be invoked to undermine long-term benefits. A healthy debate is however essential to ensure minimized negations throughout the implementation process.


Top of Form
Blackman, J. (2013). Unprecedented: The constitutional challenge to Obamacare. Bottom of Form

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