The Affordable Care Act’s Beneficial Effects on the Long-Term Care Industry

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has faced much criticism and support in recent years (PPACA). Its implementation, which began in 2010, resulted in significant changes in healthcare, especially with Medicare (Rosenbaum, 2011). Long-term treatment for the most disadvantaged people, such as the disabled and elderly, accounts for a large portion of the problems posed by concerned factions. This paper aims to illustrate the Affordable Care Act’s benefits on long-term care for the elderly and disabled.
Literature Review
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was passed and implemented in 2010, introduced a series of critical changes and opportunities to enhance healthcare delivery at the state level. Among the purposes of the ACA includes a list of provisions made to accommodate various health related issues that started being implemented in 2010 and will run out to 2022 (Miller & Nadash, 2014). These include enhanced federal financing to facilitate access to medical services besides delivery of Medicaid mandated long-term services and supports (LTSS).

At the inception of the ACA, Medicaid leaders and national policy makers recognized the need to set up better management channels long-term supports and services. Among the reasons that influenced this step in decision making include: the disproportionate share of costs absorbed by those with serious long-term conditions; intense fiscal constraints; aging among the baby boomers; an underlying overreliance on the thinly stretched institutional care resources; and finally, the fact that LTSS remains as an unmanaged fee-for-service system. The combination of these factors present significant opportunities for state purchasers to control costs and improve care through improved coordination and competent management of the entire range of available long-term care services.

Advantages

The ACA has a number of advantages. First, the provisions set by the Act will enable seniors and their families make more savings, thus reducing their expenditure on healthcare. Additionally, it has brought about a shift in the way patients’ healthcare is managed (Rosenbaum, 2011). Unlike previously, when insurance companies had greater say, the ACA insures patients and doctors thus enabling them to have greater control over their healthcare.

Similarly, the shift to ACA is beneficial to the elderly such that it offers preventive care services like mammograms, cancer screenings and wellness visits for free. This factor is quite important as it aligns with the ongoing shift in treatment procedures in most sectors of health care as most stakeholders now advocate for preventive treatment measures to create cost savings for the patients (Rosenbaum, 2011). The costs of the check-ups and initial treatments are to be incurred with the intention of warding off serious conditions that would be far more devastating and costly to treat in the future.

Besides, offering preventive care as a provision, the ACA provides for patient-centered care through health teams working together with patients to establish more personal relationships between the doctors and the patients. Through community health teams, doctors and patients can coordinate to facilitate the creation of support systems for the elderly patients (Engquist, Johnson, Lind & Barnette, 2010). This sort of support creates a conducive environment for the treatment and recovery of patients which in turn means that costs are kept at a minimum (Kapp, 2014).

The ACA has also impacted the rate of spending in regard to Medicare. Projections estimate the rate of spending in the next two decades to be lower than previously due to slower spending rates. This is expected to extend the life of Medicare by twelve years. The savings for elderly individuals are approximated at $400 every year in terms of reductions in co-insurance and premiums. Besides this, the ACA makes provision for tax free rebate checks worth $250 for seniors who meet the qualifications for drugs not on Medicare.

Finally, the ACA makes provisions to facilitate the setting up of nursing homes. Largely associated with the elderly, the nursing homes also offer care for other long-term care recipients (Engquist et al., 2010). The provisions give guidelines on the setting up of nationwide programs that also include the appropriate database to provide information regarding doctors and patients via the Nursing Home Compare. Furthermore, the ACA also ensures that a total of forty six states receive federal grant money which is then awarded to Medicaid beneficiaries to be transitioned from institutions to their homes and community based health programs (Kapp, 2014). However, the system is set up to thoroughly vet the patients before one is certified as a beneficiary.

Despite the benefits that came with the implementation of the ACA, there are some limitations that exist too. Some of these include the growing concern regarding payment reductions for Medicare and the disbursement of the said cuts (Miller & Nadash, 2014). The implications of this strategy are such that projections are estimated to render about fifteen percent of hospitals and the related skilled personnel unprofitable. In addition, the ACA in reducing payments to Medicare is setting up the system to provide subpar services to the elderly patients due to the resulting reduction in options, in both plans and physicians.

Conclusion

It is obvious that the implementation of the ACA is not popular with every involved stakeholder. Such fears and criticism are unfounded due to the difficulty in ascertaining the future of the system. However, it would be more prudent to focus on the advantages that the system brings forth. The ACA makes provision to avail more comprehensive and effective care to all, which sign up for it while having the added benefit of saving both the patients and the American taxpayers a lot in terms of funds.

References

Engquist, G., Johnson, C., Lind, A., & Barnette, L. P. (2010). Medicaid-funded long-term care: Toward more home-and community-based options. Center for Health care Strategies, Inc.

Kapp, M.B. (2014). Home and Community-Based Long-Term Services and Supports: Health Reform’s Most Enduring Legacy. Saint Louis University Journal Of Health Law & Policy, 8, 9-32.

Miller, E.A., & Nadash, P. (2014). The affordable care act and long-term care: marginal advancement on the status quo. Home health care services quarterly, 33(4), 194-210.

Rosenbaum, S. (2011). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: implications for public health policy and practice. Public health reports, 126(1), 130-135.

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