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The Affordable Care Act: A Blessing or a Curse

March 15, 2016

The upcoming BAYADA Home Health Care Speaker Series will tackle a topic as massive as the bill itself – the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA has made a number of changes to the health insurance and provider market to promote universal coverage and increased access to health care services. However, consumer response has also introduced new challenges for medical providers and health professionals, sparking debate as to the extent to which the ACA has benefited the health care system.

Jerome A. Dugan, PhD, assistant professor of Health Economics and co-principal investigator of the Health Economics Analytics Laboratory (HEAL) at Drexel University, will present “The Affordable Care Act: A Blessing or a Curse” not to convince audience members of the benefits or shortcomings of the law, but to deliver a thought-provoking examination of its history and structure to empower them to decide whether its impact on health care is a positive or a negative. With health care reform frequenting political debate and discussion, and an election in the near future, a thorough understanding of the implications of the Affordable Care Act is critical.

“I want people to learn about the ACA beyond the coverage expansions. The ACA has a lot of impact not just for consumers, but also for providers and medical workers. As a medical worker, it’s important to know what you’re walking into,” said Dugan, noting that the content of his presentation will especially resonate with recent CNHP graduates.

To truly illustrate the ACA’s impact, Dugan’s presentation will go back in time to uncover the history of health care reform as well as the history of insurance in the United States. According to Dugan, this will help audience members understand the original intention of the law. Afterward, he will review its pros and cons, calling upon current statistics and research, including his own.

Though the name of the law certainly rings positively – affordable care, after all – as it unfolded and gained nationwide momentum, health care providers and professionals began to feel the effects. “The passage of the ACA represented a huge reduction in the number of uninsured people in the United States, and a steady increase in the demand for health care services,” said Dugan. “In addition to hospitals observing an increase in the use of medical services, private practices and community clinics also report increased use as well. Thus, providers and health care workers have to deal with the challenges of seeing a higher volume of patients and ensuring that these patients receive quality care.”

Accomplishing the goal of reducing uninsured populations has its limitations, according to Dugan. “On one hand, ACA expansions have reduced the overall uninsured rate in this country. On the other hand, there still exists a number of administrative challenges that limit the ability for many vulnerable persons to affordably access health care services.”

This is just a sample of what Dugan plans to cover, but why now? The ACA was passed in 2010, but the debate about its impact rages on six years later. “The health care law was thousands of pages long when it initially passed in 2010 and has generated tens of thousands of pages of regulations since its introduction. This has introduced an increased complexity in the health care system, meaning that everyone, particularly medical workers, needs to have a personal stake in the health care system to ensure its continued success,” said Dugan. “As we move into political season, we’re hearing on both sides that we have to overhaul the existing health care law or completely remove it. More than ever, people need the context to really evaluate whether they should agree with that or not. This is a great time to examine health care law and what it’s done for the United States so far.”

RSVP to attend Dugan’s complimentary lecture on the topic on May 5, 2016. Visit our website for more information.