In early 2014, every American will be required to have health insurance. Yet it is unclear how people with serious health concerns will be affected. Obamacare is the common term for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which is the law requiring insurance. Those who have cancer may not find better health care options through Obamacare.
A primary headache for cancer patients is finding means to finance pharmaceuticals and new cancer-fighting drugs. New drugs and treatments are readily available for usage but due to their newness can be quite costly to try. With the new health care act, patients who are unable to afford expensive insurance may be unable to seek treatment from specialists who are aware of the new treatments available. This is due to insurance agents reducing the costs by cutting what prescriptions they allow on their plan, and what doctors are considered on-network.
While patients still can visit doctors that are off-network, they will have to pay for the cost of care out of their own pocket. This will mean higher bills and payment plans that may cause financial strain. Care will still be offered to those who are in the emergency room. The likelihood of a specialist and cancer treatment centers being on-network is not probable.
Another disadvantage of the health care act is that doctors will be rewarded for using cheap medications because it will lower the cost of healthcare overall. This means that doctors will be more likely to push treatments that have been on the market for a while, even if a newer treatment is shown to be more successful.
Finally, the act will expand the 340B program, which makes hospitals eligible to buy cancer medicine straight from the pharmaceutical companies and then charge patients much more. The prices of the drugs are discounted, so the amount of money the developers make will go down. The loss of funding will negatively affect the developers’ ability to continue research.
Patients are forced to seek care from hospitals, which will not offer the same comfort as specialized treatment centers. It will also force hospitals to expand to allow for the additional patients.
While cancer research is necessary to find a cure, the Affordable Care Act makes the research too expensive to maintain. Those who are stuck with high medical costs and those who require specialized medication, or treatments, will suffer from Obamacare. They may not be fined for not having insurance, but they will be feeling the consequences elsewhere.