The end of President Bush regime and the ushering in of the Obama administration came in with a lot of changes that have transformed the lives of many Americans. It must be remembered that during the inception of this administration, the United States and the whole globe at large was going through a lot of challenges especially in regard to national economies. As a result, there were dire needs for drastic changes in different areas or rather sectors of the government in order to reverse the effects that had been caused by the deteriorating economy, both in the United States and across the globe. One of the areas that needed a quick remedy is the healthcare sector. According to Malhotra (2009), top on Obama administration's agenda was a reform in the health care sector (p.183).
In line with this, there are different measures that have been taken as a way of creating and modifying the existing health care sector in order to emerge with a health care sector that would be inclusive of different social classes in this nation. As a result of this, different regimes in the United States have taken different policy reform initiatives to create a health care sector that would not be money minded. Instead, there was a need to eliminate the inequalities that characterized the health care sector. As has been observed by Malhotra (2009), the inequality of health care has steadily increased as more and more people are uninsured and underinsured (p.225). In other words, the nation of the United States has faced a lot of challenges in the health care sector for more than half a century as it struggles to create health care policies that would promote a health care sector that is appreciated by people from different societal classes.
There are a lot of changes that have been made in the last two years in the health care sector and created room for an expansion of different programs that facilitate access to health care services. It is important for one to understand that there were many people who were uninsured at the time when Obama came to power as the president of the United States. For instance, between 2007 and 2008, there are many people who found themselves without any form of health care coverage as a result of loosing their jobs due to financial crisis in the United States that led this country into a recession. According to Malhotra (2009), the cost of health care was on the rise since there were more than 47 million people that were uninsured thus compromising their health status (p.149). Notably, this has been the practice among different health care insurance cover and medical plans for many years. As a result, as long as one was employed, he or she was entitled to an insurance cover. However, once a person lost his or her job, he or she also lost the medical cover.
In addition to having a lot of people who lost their medical insurance cover as a result of loosing their jobs, there are a lot of people who have lost this cover as a result of growing into adulthood. In other words, these people were covered under their parents and guardians' insurance cover but lost it after clocking a certain age where they are considered adults and therefore were required to take up their own health care insurance. However, there are proposed changes that require that adult children who are depended on their parents be covered by the insurance cover that is supported by their parents (Herszenhorn, 2010). Similar, there have been stringent measures in place that have made it difficult for people to subscribe to different health care programs. It is important for one to understand that that most health plans only catered for children up to a certain age. However, after this age, they were treated as adults and therefore required to take their own medical insurance cover.
The number of people who were covered by the health care plans that are available in the United States was very low as recent as 2008. However, the introduction of tax cuts under the Recovery Act has provided funds to increase the number of people who are insured (Relman, 2009). Remarkably, the health care plans that were available in the United States only favored a few people who were able to pay for their premiums. Following these practices by the health insurance companies and medical plans, most people in the United States were denied access to quality health care services.
Much of the changes that have occurred since Obama administration came to power in health care practices are inclined towards ensuring that the past practices that denied a lot of Americans access to quality health care services at reasonable prices are broken. Instead, these changes have or are in the process of creating favorable policies that would allow every American to have an opportunity to access health care services at affordable rates. In reference to Thaindian's Pen Men At Work (2010), the insurance providers had the ability to deny coverage to individuals even when they needed it the most. Additionally, these insurance providers could also determine the cut-off limit on the amount that was to be paid for essential benefits (Pen Men At Work, 2010). These are some of the areas that health insurance providers have utilized over time to deny individuals access to health care.
There are major changes that have been made over time, especially after the coming into power of the Obama administration. One of the areas of health care practices that have received a lot of attention from the Obama administration is the cost of health care. It must be noted that the current government of the United States has been working hard to ensure that the costs of health care are minimized by a certain margin to allow more people from the middle and lower to be able to access quality medical services. According to Rowland (2010), people who were already sick were denied access to insurance cover as insurance providers already knew that they would foot health bills since such people were already sick. These practices by the health insurance providers were meant to reduce the risks they faced as businesses in the health care industry.
However, recent health care reforms have eliminated this practice among the insurance providers. In reference to Pen Men At Work (2010), a simple elucidation will make it clear, suppose someone is sick and needs medical coverage then the medical insurance provider cannot drop the individual on account of technicalities. Therefore, this has been seen as an important milestone in the creation of a health care system that is affordable by most Americans. Importantly, the failure by insurance providers to provide coverage for people who are already sick as a result of technicalities automatically means that these people have to deal with their own medical bills. As a result, the costs of health care services are inflated. However, the government of the United States believes that eliminating such practices would reduce these costs by a substantial margin.
In addition to providing insurance cover to people who are already sick but require these services, there have been reforms in regard to the payments for testing for signs and symptoms of some diseases that are preventable or treatable when detected early enough. In this regard, whereas people were supposed to pay for testing services of some diseases, they would no longer pay for these services to promote preventive programs in the health care sector. According to Johnson (2010), the new health insurance policies beginning on or after Sept. 23 must cover - without charge - preventive care that's backed up by the best scientific evidence. In this regard, the Americans would not be needed to pay for out-of-pocket services for diseases and ailments that are deemed as preventable. This was not the case in the beginning. Instead, it was a common practice in the health care sector for people to pay for out-of-pocket services in order to receive these services.
Notably, the pay out-of-pocket services are highly supported by the government of the United States. According to Relman (2009), the government of the United States has allocated $1 billion to support preventive public health programs. These programs include control of obesity, smoking, depression screening, alcoholic misuse counseling and screening, etc. This is seen as a way of encouraging people in the society to pursue preventive programs rather than wait to treat diseases when the damage that has been done costs more to reverse or has gone beyond reversal point. On the other hand, it must be understood that early detection of diseases has been found to cost less in terms of treatment as compared to late detection of a particular disease.
There have also been programs that have been formulated in the last two years, i.e. 2009 to date to deal with the rising cases of the uninsured due to unemployment. It must be noted that a large number of people who were uninsured in the past had either lost their jobs or were completely unemployed. In this regard, insurance providers were unwilling to offer health care cover to such people. However, recently, 2009 to be specific, appropriate programs were formulated by the government of the United States to facilitate access to health services among such people.
There are notable differences that have been observed after the implementation of these changes in the health care practices. To begin with, there has been increased health insurance coverage for the Americans. In line with the measures that have been taken by the government, more and more people are able to access quality health, with less emphasis on their financial backgrounds. For instance, Coverage had been increased further by separate legislation reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which includes funds to insure an additional four million children under Medicaid-mainly children from poor families (Relman, 2009). In addition to increasing health care coverage and thus widening the horizon of the Americans who are able to access quality health care services, there has also been a reduction in the costs of medical services that are offered to the Americans. Whereas this is yet to be fully achieved, the number of Americans that is able to access affordable health care services has increased substantially.
In summation, there are numerous changes that have occurred in the health care sector since the inception of the Obama administration that have transformed the US health care practices. More important is the fact that, whereas there are several medical practices that have experienced change since November 2008, most of the areas that have seen tremendous changes regard the costs of health care and insurance coverage. In this regard, the US government has worked more in the last two years to ensure that more people are covered by health care plans and that the cost of health care is reduced by a substantial margin.