c. Healthcare Policy
In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed into law during the Clinton Administration. The law comprises many crucial protections for Americans. It allows those who have lost their jobs to continue their health insurance, regulates healthcare fraud, and provides privacy to medical patients.
Many are aware of HIPAA because it requires confidentiality when handling health-related information. This was pivotal for healthcare reform because it warrants the use of relevant information while protecting patients’ privacy. The act protects one’s mental health condition, provision of care, and payment for healthcare treatment, to name a few . I firmly believe HIPAA is responsible for the doctor-patient confidentiality we have come to expect.
The less-known HIPAA regulation relates to health insurance. One is eligible if they have been under a group health plan and applied for individual health insurance within 63 days of coverage loss . This coverage is important because, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19, many Americans are left without coverage after losing their jobs. There is a general consensus among Americans that HIPAA is necessary.
Another healthcare policy is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) which is quite polarizing in America. Signed into law in 2010 by President Obama, the Affordable Care Act was intended to make healthcare more accessible and easier to understand. The law requires providers to charge the same amount to cover those with pre-existing conditions (such as pregnancy). It emphasizes preventative care and allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26 years old. Although seldom talked about, there are additional benefits such as mental health services and breastfeeding support.
So why would the ACA be so controversial? Aside from a black president signing it into law, some believe it is government overreach because it requires people to buy healthcare. It also uses taxpayer money to provide coverage which is not a popular idea among some Americans. Although the law is flawed in some areas, its unpopularity mainly stems from resentment of America’s healthcare system overall.
For this reason, I believe the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was more successful than the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as both liberals and conservatives alike push for its reform. HIPAA is generally well received. While Obamacare has provided health insurance for over twenty-million people, HIPAA’s regulations will likely remain in place for decades to come.