Health insurance is an essential ingredient for any nation to address the health needs of its people. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), introduced by Obamas administration in 2010, sought to address the challenges many low-income individuals/families were facing due to weaknesses of Medicaid and Medicare. The Act (also referred in-here as Obamacare) introduced a raft of benefits to low income earners and emphasized on preventive health care and enhanced access to treatment among people with pre-existing conditions (Rosenbaum 131-34). In spite of its benefits, the implementation of Obamacare has provoked a lot of conflicts among stakeholders. The crux of the differences is that individuals who are not at risk of health problems are forced to pay for those that are seriously in need of health attention under a federally sanctioned program (Rosenbaum 130-31; Leonhardt). Such foundation goes against the values of American society hence the conflicts.
Issues of Conflict and their Major Causes
The major aim of ACA is to achieve universal medical insurance coverage through a shared responsibility between government, employers, and individuals (Rosenbaum 130).It is a cost all American taxpayers have to shoulder to pay for those that cannot afford medical insurance. In other words, benefits healthy persons would never expect to utilize are used to subsidize the medical needs of those that need them (Leonhardt).This provision was intended to encourage more people to buy insurance. According to Wilensky, such provision is rather controversial among a section of the population who feel that forcing people to have insurance or pay the penalty in terms of deductions is an infringement on choice (1479). Wilensky further observes that the effect of such reaction can be seen in young peoples tendency to postpone insurance until they are sure that they need it.
Perhaps the provision to pay for others generates more conflicts that the incentives to purchase insurance. ACA operates on the premise that a single program can meet medical needs of all individuals yet scientific literature show that medical needs differ significantly (Wilensky 1479-80).Different individuals pursue medical services at different rates. This has created conflict as a segment of the taxpayers feel it adopts a one-size-fits-all strategy toward attainment of universal insurance coverage. This has hurt some low-income people who are forced to pay for what they do not need yet a majority prefers to save the money deducted for the their childrens education and housing (Bagley and Frank).These disagreements have been raised through political platforms and other forums in the country, thereby creating serious divisions among stakeholders and the public on the best way forward in regards to the ACA legislation.
Another area of contention over Obamacare is the cost of the program on the businesses that are required to make a mandatory purchase of insurance for their employees. Those that are against it have termed the policy as an intrusion into the private affairs of businesses. Additionally, those on the opposing side of Obamacare cite loss of jobs since the program imposes more cost commitments on businesses (Bagley and Frank; Berman).On the other hand, pro Obamacare proponents argue that it is the best way to pay for those that cannot afford (Leonhardt).
Approaches used to resolve Conflict of Obama and Socialized Medicine
Agitation is one of the methods that have been used especially by those that support ACA to persuade policy makers and other leaders to rethink about their efforts to abolish the program. For instance, pro-Obamacare groups have organized rallies and protests to voice their concerns regarding the effects that would befall low-income individuals and the elderly if the law is amended. This method seeks to draw the attention of policy makers as well as employs persuasions as a way of making their grievances heard. For many, agitation offers the gateway through which beneficiaries of the program petition lawmakers and other policy makers through public opinion. Public opinion is instrumental in shaping actions of occupants of the legislative arms of the states and those of the federal government.
Agitation has also been witnessed on the part of politicians. For instance, the Republican Partys campaign in the build up to the 2016 general elections featured messages of the intention to repeal the ACA. Indeed, upon assuming office, the Republican Partys leadership has made several attempts to repeal the Act but with little success. This is an abrasive approach to the resolution of the conflict as it disregards the perspectives of those individuals that hold divergent positions regardless of the potential impact of such views in addressing the problems the health care system in the country faces (Berman). As evidenced by recent happenings in the Congress, this type of approach to conflicts has seen a terrible failure of several proposals made in order to repeal Obamacare.
Court processes have also been used by both parties to the conflict as a tool for pursuing their agenda in regards to the application of ACA. Parties often use this approach when other joint conflict resolution mechanisms have failed. Republicans made attempts to sue the president Obama in regards to the implementation of some as aspects of the law, a move that has been described as a show of frustration in their attempts to reform the law. For instance, in 2016, Republicans went to a federal district court and challenged the aspects of the employer mandate and the $130 billion appropriation funds that were supposed to be sent to insurers as reimbursements. In the ruling, the court dismissed employer mandate prayers sought by Republicans but upheld that appropriations by Congress must be explicitly provided by the Congress and not implicit as was the case with ACA (Berman).Similar attempts were made earlier before the Supreme Court in the King v. Burwell in which the court dismissed the requests made in regards to the implementation of Obamacare.
Strategies for Resolving the Obamacare Controversy
Establishment of a compromise between pro-Obamacare and anti-Obamacare camps can be a useful tool in handling the current issues surrounding the implementation of the law. According to Overton and Lowry, compromise involves two parties of equal power who opt to come together and negotiate for common ground on matters related to the issue of conflict. Through this approach, the parties involved often yield some of their hardline positions to give negotiations a chance (260-61). Since compromise embraces open-mindedness on the perspectives of others, it can be effective in solving complex problems. In context, a compromise between the main contenders in the Obamacare conflict can be helpful in outlining genuine issues that each camp raises in order to come up with legislation that addresses issues of the people rather than those of the elite in the political circles.
In establishing compromise, the perspectives of the parties must be based on the problems the implementation of ACA has faced. This means that collaboration is critical as it would bring other stakeholders apart from the political parties. Collaboration promotes cooperativeness thereby ensuring that the needs of each party are factored in arriving at given decision (Overton and Lowry 26-61). Evidently, the implementation of Obamacare has raised a lot of issues that have demonstrated that improvements are required to overhaul the US health care system in a manner that adequately benefits the citizens without harming businesses (Wilensky 1480-81; Obama 263-64).
Further study of the Problem
It is without question that the USs health care system needed a complete overhaul at the time the Obama administration assumed office. Despite the implementation of ACA, the system still requires some changes to adequately address the health care problem in the country. One of the areas of contention is the assumption that care needs are universal and, therefore, a fits- it-all approach is necessary (Leonhardt).This is one area that needs to be studied and decisions made by considering scientific findings on the medical needs of every category of citizens. Perhaps, this would address the limitation of choice that taxpayers finds themselves in regards to the need to purchase insurance.
The individual mandate and the claim that Obamacare hurts small businesses is another area that needs further study. For instance, Wilensky argues that the issue of the mandate cannot work in the absence of a threat that those that do not comply with the law would face a penalty as in the case of other federal-sponsored programs such Medicare. Wilensky further argues that ACA ignores problems inherent in organization and reimbursement of care which makes care unaffordable to both care intermediaries and taxpayers (1479-81). This area needs to be investigated ensure a trade-off is established between what people are paying for and the services that are actually being provided. This would reduce conflicts related to the economic benefits of the program on Americans.
Bagley, Nicholas, and Austin Frank. "The problem with one-size-fits-all health insurance." The New York Times, 2016.
Berman, Russel. "How Republicans finally got a victory on Obamacare." The Atlantic, [Boston], 2016.
Leonhardt, David. "Obamacare and Reagan." The New York Times, [New York], 2015.
Obama, Barack H. "Repealing the ACA Without a ReplacementThe Risks to American Health Care." Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, vol. 72, no. 5, 2017, pp. 263-264.
Overton, Amy, and Ann Lowry. "Conflict Management: Difficult Conversations with Difficult People." Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, vol. 26, no. 04, 2013, pp. 259-264.
Rosenbaum, Sara. "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Implications for Public Health Policy and Practice." Public Health Reports, vol. 126, no. 1, 2011, pp. 130-135.
Wilensky, Gail R. "The Shortfalls of Obamacare." New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 367, no. 16, 2012, pp. 1479-1481.
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