I am planning to write my White Paper on the Affordable Care Act that was passed into law in June 2012. I will specifically focus upon the individual insurance mandate.
This topic lends itself well to the “Business, Government, and Society” theme. The “Government” aspect is perhaps the most apparent. The mandate is highly controversial because it requires individuals to purchase a health insurance plan or else be penalized with a fine. The mandate goes into effect in 2014, and the penalties for failing to obtain insurance grow from $95 per adult in 2014 to $695 per adult in 2016 and beyond (Kaiser Family Foundation). Opponents of the ACA argued that the individual mandate was unconstitutional in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it impedes upon an individual’s right to liberty. The ACA ultimately passed through the Supreme Court because of special exemptions that were made because all Americans consume healthcare at one point or another in their lifetimes.
Although the ACA will be enacted in 2014, there is no doubt that it faces a lot of scrutiny, which is especially prevalent now given the impending presidential election. Romney vows to repeal Obamacare if elected, which seems like a waste of valuable time and resources given the economic benefits of the mandate. By the 2020’s, Obamacare is actually expected to decrease the federal deficit by about a trillion dollars (Washington Post).
For the “Business” section of the paper, I can investigate the economic benefits that not only insurance companies, but hospitals and other care facilities will enjoy thanks to the ACA. Uninsured patients actually cost hospitals much more money than they ever pay in fees. Uninsured patients are under the impression that the emergency department is a suitable place to receive care. Improper use of the emergency department decreases the efficiency of hospitals due to increased waiting times, reduced quality of care, and higher monetary costs for the hospital. Also, uninsured patients who only visit the emergency department when something with their health is very wrong ultimately incur huge costs for the hospital due to lack of preventative care.
The “Society” section will closely correspond with the “Business” one, but will focus more heavily upon the benefits that the mandate will have on individuals and society as a whole. The big idea here will be better access to healthcare and therefore the possibility of a healthier population.
The potential audience for this paper is Americans who are currently opposed to Obamacare, the reason being that they do not agree with the individual mandate.
The sources listed above are all reliable. I would normally question the newspaper article, but it cites the KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), which I know to be a reliable source. I conducted a research project this summer on healthcare efficiency (focusing instead upon Community Health Centers and statistical analysis), but many sources I used for background info for previous research can be used here as well. I found the sources using the library’s resources, mainly Summon.
I am interested in this paper because it is so relevant in our country today. It will also be interesting to see how the election affects the ACA, or if it will at all. I am particularly excited to research all aspects of the individual mandate and conduct a cost benefit analysis with a focus on business, government, and society.