In the United States, health care reform is an ongoing debate. Higher insurance premiums, higher rates for medical care, and stagnant wages have created an untenable health care system for many families. Finding a way to change this system could make this system more affordable, but not without certain consequences. Here are the pros and cons to consider.
What Are the Pros of Health Care Reform?
1. More people are able to access adequate care.
Many families don’t seek medical care when they are living paycheck to paycheck. With health care reform making services more affordable, more people can access the medical care they need.
2. It enhances competition within the market.
The US health care system has many free market attributes to it. By creating circumstances which require more people to be covered by adequate care, there are more customers available to each medical provider. This promotes competition within local markets to generate new revenues.
3. It promotes innovation.
With more people being able to afford the care they need, the medical industry is placed into a position where it must innovate. It must find ways to affordably and effectively treat each patient who requires care.
What Are the Cons of Health Care Reform?
1. It creates doctor shortages.
In the US, there is already an estimated shortage of 5,000 doctors because of the reforms that have already taken place. In the coming decade, that shortage could quadruple if current medical school enrollments remain stagnant.
2. It takes longer to receive needed care.
When there are not enough doctors to care for an entire community, then wait times begin to get longer. After the establishment of the Affordable Care Act in the Pacific Northwest, there were wait times exceeding 6 months in some locations just to schedule in an annual physical checkup.
3. It can also reduce the quality of care received.
Reform is made with good intentions, but sometimes a decrease in coverage is achieved instead. There are always unforeseen and unintended consequences, both good and bad, that come with any change to the status quo.
The pros and cons of health care reform are being debated because the current system in the US has been untenable for some time. Whether you’re for the current system or against it, there is one important point that must always be considered: change should not happen just because it can. There must be a purpose behind it.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.