Health Care Policy
One of the most controversial policies in health care is the Medicaid program. According to this reform, the government proposes to eliminate the number of uninsured people in the United States. For taxpayers, Medicaid and Obamacare policies offer a better option, which prevents health problems. Emergency costs for treatment of the uninsured population exceed the prevention programs such as Medicaid.
Despite the fact that many states in the country struggle with unemployment and poverty, the expansion of Medicaid passes only in the half of the states. The difference in the votes of the states is a considerable insight into the related problems. Analyzing the political, economic, and social conditions can help to understand the choice of each state and see how they differ. Three states that voted differently on the Medicaid expansion chose different solutions to their problems.
For the research, three states are examined under similar criteria. Political preference is the first one. It helps to determine the beliefs and values of the population in a given state. Next is economic condition in the area. It is crucial to know the employment rate and economic struggle to predict the upcoming health care needs. Finally, social conditions that surround people in everyday life need to be examined. People’s living habits and environment are also vital in understanding the needs of the population in the region.
This research helps to understand the motives in every aspect of life and their connection to one another. Health care regulation is an important element in a person’s life. Health care program needs to provide more options for all population to make them feel protected. The only way to solve it is to see the results of the different roads that each state took.
Health Care Policy
One of the most controversial policies in the healthcare system of the United States is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. On March 2010, President Obama passed the ACA. The purpose of this reform in health care is to provide the affordable health insurance for the uninsured population and regulate high spending in the health care system in the United States. The new health care regulation is designed to create more benefits and protection to the low-income families and individuals. The high rate of unpaid medical costs often becomes the main reason of debts and bankruptcy. Obamacare also creates many other vital advantages to the individuals from different social groups. For example, the White House (2016) explains that under the Obamacare regulation, insurance companies are not able to reject the coverage or increase the amount based on health condition. Young people are eligible under their parents’ insurance up until 26 years old. It also enables different states to expand the Medicaid program to the poor population. These are some of the basic regulations introduced by the Obamacare reforms. The Medicaid program itself has created many controversies between different states. The comparison of three states can provide better information on how the states’ choices differ in terms of this health care regulation. The purpose of the research is to identify the differences between the states that chose to expand the health care program Medicaid, created their option, or opted out from this expansion.
Most of the costs of the Medicaid program are covered by the government. It should be noted that states voted differently on the expansion of the Medicaid program (“A 50-state look at Medicaid expansion”, 2016). Some of the states suggested their own programs. Others opted out of the Medicaid expansion, but most of the state governors agreed to expand it. Nevertheless, the Medicaid expansion became the center of disputes between the states. States that agree on the Medicaid expansion have most of the costs covered by the government. The Medicaid expansion helps people who are not covered by any health insurance. The White House (2016) program explains that Medicaid funding means to provide health insurance to the low-income population, children, and pregnant women. Medicaid makes a difference for the disabled and elderly population in providing help and treatment. These are the people who earn less than a certain amount under the poverty level. For them, the program is a chance to have coverage by the Medicaid program expansion in states that chose to expand it.
As an example of the controversy, California is one of the 32 states that voted to expand the Medicaid program. In California, more than two million people can receive the Medicaid benefits from the program expansion in their state (“A 50-state look at Medicaid expansion”, 2016). For California, the choice of the program expansion is a logical decision to protect the large number of the uninsured population. If the number of the insured population goes up, it provides a basic social protection for the low-income population. With this program, the state provides better protection for its population and eliminates a certain amount of families who are insecure about paying their medical bills. The program aims for the future benefits of the low-income people to be protected in their basic needs. The more protected the Californian population is, the more confidently they look forward to the future. It empowers them to get better jobs and consequently pay out the taxes spent on the Medicaid program.
For example, Texas who has voted to opt out from the Medicaid program expansion still has over a million people who do not have access to health care insurance. The number of people without health insurance is devastating. Texas is considered to have a growing gap between the people who can afford insurance and those who are poor. The low-income people are left out to struggle in between. In California, the rate of unemployment is 7.5%; while in Texas, it is around 5% of unemployment population (Flohlich & Kent, 2015). Since the Medicaid program expansion, the poverty rate in California has dropped to almost 16%; while in Texas, it went up to 17% (Frohlich & Kent, 2015).
Finally, the third state of this comparison is Michigan. The state has voted to expand the Medicaid program. According to the table provided by the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, the state voted to have transitioning plan coverage according to their state amendment (“Status of state action”, 2016). The Michigan population requires more support from the state. Michigan is known for having a weak job market, a high unemployment rate, and therefore, it spends more taxpayers’ money on the emergency coverage for poor people. For Michigan, it is wise to invest into the Medicaid program, decreasing the number of the uninsured population. In the long-run, like in California, Michigan is likely to take care of the low-income people, boosting them to aim for better employment.
Political, Economic, and Social Conditions
During the comparison of the three states, one of the most important criteria is the political governance in the state. California and Michigan have voted for the Democrats and therefore, they are likely to support the decision of the democratic government of the President. Additionally, both states have high unemployment rates. It means that the liaison of the low-income families and individuals require more of a state support and security to provide for themselves in the future. In Texas, the Republicans made a different choice. For the Republican state, the percentage of the low-income families’ remains left out of any health insurance program. It explains the fact that Texas has the growing rates of poverty. Ignoring the fact that low-income population needs support from the state and the protection from the basic health problems is not the road that leads to the successful future. The differences in the political preferences of the states explain how the states have voted for the Medicaid program expansion and it has nothing to do with the current state of the social situation in the given state. For Texas, the problem with the people who live in poverty is not going to go away. The fact that the low-income population stays uninsured in Texas is not a far going decision to fix the problem. In a way, the state does not react to the ongoing problems of its own but it rather represents their political views. It explains the differences in all three states of this research. Both California and Michigan are governed by the Democrats and they voted for similar Medicaid expansion. It fits the existing problem in these states with the low-income population and possibly solves it in the long-run. In Texas, however, the governance seems to take no action in resolving the increasing problem.
In terms of poverty and unemployment rates, California and Michigan have similar numbers. Even though California has one of the best state economies and household income in the country, it also ranks high in unemployment and poverty. For Michigan, the situation is different. The majority of jobs in the state of Michigan offer employment in manufacturing, which is a low paid job. Michigan ranks the lowest among the three states being compared in terms of household income. It explains the difference in poverty rates among the states. Michigan has a number of the employed individual who work and belong to the low-income class and who often cannot afford to spend extra on the premium health care insurance. For these people, the choice is between premium insurance and none. The choice between the two pushes people to remain uninsured. In the case of California, one of the most expensive states to live in the country, the situation is a bit different. High living costs and spending explains why so many people with low income have no choice but live without any health insurance and rely on the state. Texas, unlike California and Michigan, does not have the problem of a large low-income population. However, with the denial of the Medicaid expansion, the number of population living in poverty has increased. The low-income population that was not able to afford health insurance and with a lack of support from the state increased the numbers of poverty rates in the state of Texas. The economic and social situation in these states gives important signals to the state legislators. Together with political reasoning, it makes the biggest difference on how the policy implements in a particular state.
In conclusion, the fact that most of the states have chosen the Medicaid expansion program goes along with the political reason that the Democrats govern in most of the states. Naturally, most of the state governors supported the decision of the President to expand the Medicaid program. One of the basic human needs is a need to feel safe and protected. People with low incomes tend to protect their short-term needs in shelter, food, and clothing. This population is unlikely to think long-term and provide an expensive health insurance. The difference in the reaction of the states on the Medicaid expansion causes the differences in their economic, social, and political pre-conditions.
Each state chose the future for its population in terms of health insurance. The major difference between the states on health care policy is the vision of health insurance as a necessity or a luxury. Without a doubt, many consider that health insurance is a good motivator to work harder and provide for their families better. However, for many who already struggle with basic living conditions, health insurance is not a priority. The choice for these people cannot be between premium prices on health insurance and none. There has to be an in-between option such as Obamacare policy regulates. The differences between the states only emphasize the need for the same nationwide solution.