Impact of the Affordable Care Act on North Carolina’s Uninsured Health insurance is one of the most important benefits a citizen can have in America. Some Americans who work acquire health insurance through their employers. But then, there are Americas who do not work and therefore, are unable to have health insurance. The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama and the United States Congress, (North Carolina’s Institute of Medicine, 2012). This paper will focus on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on North Carolina’s uninsured. With the rising cost in health care and high co-payments pertaining to medical conditions, some people cannot afford health insurance. With the loss of jobs and losing their livelihood, some people cannot afford insurance. Individuals who work with small businesses do not have health insurance because these small businesses cannot afford to provide health insurance benefits for their employees. Some people just do not work and therefore, do not have health insurance.
This whole uninsured population is the ones who do not seek health care when they have health issues or have chronic medical conditions, and also do not practice preventative care. According to the North Carolina’s Institute of Medicine (2012), there was 1.6 million (19%) uninsured people living in North Carolina in 2010 and According to Milstead (4th edition, 2013), this group of uninsured whose income was below federal poverty level included pregnant women, children 18 years old and under, parents who were employed or unemployed, adults without children, disabled and the elderly population. By 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offered much new coverage for the uninsured population. It required states to offer Medicaid insurance to working families whose income was below the federal poverty level of 138%, that is $30,429 for a family of four ( Milstead, 2013).
According to North Carolina’s Institute of Medicine (NCIOM), For a family making above the federal poverty level, but not enough to afford health insurance, the ACA provided subsidies to help them purchase private insurance through new insurances that was created by the ACA. Before ACA, Medicaid only covered children, parents, pregnant women, disabled people and the elderly. Now in 2014, it is available to all adults making below the federal income level (NICOM, 2012).
This population of insured people will now receive health services, preventative services, and prescription drugs and so on. By 2014, with the Affordable Care Act in effect, according to (NCIOM, 2012), almost 800,000 of people living in North Carolina that were not insured will be insured. 41% of this population will obtain insurance through private insurances and 59% through Medicaid. With this amount of surplus in insured patients, health care workers and professionals will be in greater demand, especially primary care providers. This may cause a longer wait period to see ones’ primary provider or a specialist. There will also be a decrease in treating preventative care.
North Carolina is aware that there will be a shortage of medical personnel’s with this demand. They have to find the funds to educate and have enough health care providers to ensure that the workforce is available to meet the state’s demand of insured people. The health care workforce, who are the primary workers, include doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physicians’ assistants, psychologists, psychiatrists , medical assistants, nurse midwives, and licensed practical nurses. This workforce, in a broad spectrum, ensures that patients receive optimal quality care, treat and teach preventative care, manage chronic illnesses, both physically and mentally.
To be able to increase the medical workforce in order to meet the health care needs of the population, North Carolina’s schools and universities have increased their students’ class capacities. Some of these schools including Duke University School of Medicine, The UNC Chapel Hill Department of Pediatrics/ UNC Hospitals, the nursing programs at UNC Wilmington, Western Carolina University and many others have received funding from the ACA and other agencies. Other groups are responsible to offer loans and scholarships in the effort to attract students into the medical field. Rural training is also available to students as well. (NICOM, 2012). North Carolina is also encouraging a diversified form of teaching and is encouraging minorities to be a part of the medical workforce. They believe that patients will adhere to practicing better health and lifestyle changes if they are told to do so from someone of their own race.
North Carolina is taking appropriate steps to be able to meet the health care needs of its insured people. The State has taken steps to expand the medical team workforce through offering scholarships and grants to different universities. This is to enable patients to receive access to good quality health care, both in the urban and rural areas. Community centers infrastructures are been redesigned to meet the needs of the insured population. Health insurance companies are responsible to provide health benefits such as low co-payments according to the plan an individual or family signs up for (NICOM, 2012). Health insurance companies are also responsible to be able to help pay for prescriptions drugs, outpatient care, emergency care, hospitalization, and preventative care practices.
According to( NICOM, 2012), North Carolina is not a healthy state, but with the introduction of the ACA, they are planning to become a healthy state in the year 2020. The ethical implications of the Affordable Care Act are giving the citizens of North Carolina a right to have health insurance. No one should avoid going to the doctor when they are sick because they cannot afford it. Everyone should have a choice to practice preventative care medicine. According to the Whitehouse.gov, pre-existing conditions will no longer be a barrier to obtaining health insurance. Individuals and families will receive tax credit support to pay for their coverage. All in all, the Affordable Care Act has given all Americans the right to have health insurance.
North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM). Examining the Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in North Carolina, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.nciom.org The Affordable Care Act: Immediate Benefits for North Carolina. Retrieved www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/healthcare-facts Milstead, J. Health Policy and Politics, 2013.