• 1 month ago

    Consumer Costs

    State and Federal legislation has the opportunity to strengthen health care markets by expanding coverage, changing the way insurances deny coverage, and making health care more affordable. Or it can do the opposite such as repeal legislation that once expanded coverage to almost every United States citizen or increase the costs of health care. In this paper, we will examine how Federal and State health care policies affect consumer costs. Furthermore, we will look at both the positive and the negative effects that health care policies are having on consumer costs.
    Positive Impacts of Federal and State Health Care Policies on Consumer Costs
    Americans consistently keep health care costs top of mind when health care issues arise. These costs can further prohibit someone to seek medical care, in fact, “half of the U.S. say they or a family member delayed or even skipped care- or relied on an alternative treatment as a result of costs (Kerzinger, 2019). The issues of health care costs direct much political discussion and debate, as noted in (Kirtzic, 2019). These policies can impact consumer costs both positively and negatively. For example, through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 the goals were to make affordable health insurance available to more people, expand the Medicaid program, and support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of healthcare generally (healthcare.gov, 2019). As a result of the ACA, it has been reported that just in 2017 the ACA kept health care spending under 18% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Price transparency laws are another means to allow the consumer an advantage of “shopping around” when in need of medical services.
    Negative Impacts of Federal and State Health Care Policies on Consumer Costs
    On the opposite side of the spectrum, by repealing the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA or repealing the policy all together may have negative financial repercussions of consumer costs. Take for example, the number of current citizens covered though the Marketplace. These policy holders would lose coverage and have no way to obtain insurance without either paying high out-of-pocket expenses or simply forgo coverage all together. This decision could cause an increase in unpaid medical bills for health care organizations.
    Another example would be to enact a policy on the topic of prescription drug pricing. Mylan, a pharmaceutical drug company that makes EpiPens raised their prices of a two-pack from $100 to $600. The lack of legislation to regulate the price of prescription medicines in the U.S. is limited to safety and efficacy, not price and value (Fielding, 2016). These publicly traded companies are often driven to maximize shareholders profits regardless of how it affects the consumer.
    Undoubtedly, State and Federal health care policies have the ability to affect consumer costs negatively and positively. Whether through the regulation the costs of prescription drug pricing or creating price transparency laws these can have positive effects on consumer costs. However, the negative effects that health care policy has such as by repealing current laws that expand coverage can cause financial hardship on the consumer. It is vital for Americans to vote on legislation that is consistent with the notion to improve health care costs, quality, and access in order to have a good quality of life.

    Fielding, J. (2016). US News & World Report. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-10-05/the-us-can-make-prescription-drugs-more-affordable
    Healthcare.gov (2019). Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/affordable-care-act/
    Kerzinger, A. (2019). Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/data-note-americans-challenges-health-care-costs/