Each year, there are more people going underinsured or uninsured in the United States. This poses a huge problem for many Americans, especially those between the ages of 19-64. Karen Davis (2007) states the following in reference to this problem:
The United States is the only major industrialized nation without universal health insurance, and coverage has deteriorated in the past six years. The consequences are increasingly well known: inequities in access to care, avoidable mortality and poor quality care, financial burdens on people who are uninsured or underinsured, and lost economic productivity (346).
“The number of uninsured people has increased from 40 million to nearly 47 million in 2005” (Davis, 2007, p. 346). This is a scary number considering we are supposed to live in the land of opportunity. It is estimated that 18,000 lives are lost each year due to gaps in health coverage (Davis, 2007). This is an extremely high number for those that could possibly have insurance, but don’t due to the increasing costs. Just as the number rose in 2005, the number continues to grow today. “The number of people without health insurance in 2010 was 49.9 million” (Department of Health and Safety, p. 2). This source also states that some of the largest contributors to this epidemic are age, race, employment, and income which all certainly make sense. “Between now and 2013, personal spending on health care is estimated to increase 7.4% per year, whereas personal income will increase 4.6% per year” (Garson Jr., 2006 , p.798). Unfortunately, these numbers do not help the outcome of Americans gaining access to insurance.
The best way to address the problem is to create awareness of what has been happening and why. Many public and healthcare opinion leaders need to put healthcare at the top when it comes to priorities for Americans and they have. However, this requires tax increases. But, it has to be done in order to provide the healthcare needed. The best way to solve this problem is through the Affordable Care Act of 2010. This act ensures that children stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. The provisions of the act will “reduce exposure to out-of-pocket expenses for covered benefits (Schoen, Doty, Robertson, and Collins, 2011, p. 1762). “The ACA will help make wellness and prevention services affordable and accessible to young adults by requiring health plans to cover preventative services and by eliminating cost-sharing” (Bleyer, 2010, p. 563). Though there will be tax increases, the ACA will still provide success in covering the uninsured (Cantor, Monheit, DeLia, and Lloyd, 2012). So far, “the Act has enabled 2.5 million more individuals between the ages of 19 years and 25 years to have health insurance during the first 15 months after its passage on September 23,2010” (Bleyer, Ulrich, and Martin, 2012, p. 6020). This is an enormous amount and a complete success. Finally, one of the best parts of the Act is that “young adults with incomes under 133 percent of poverty will be eligible for Medicaid with little or no premium payments or out-of-pocket expenses” (Collins, Robertson, Garber, and Doty, 2012, p. 12). To me, that is a major accomplishment.