Health Care Reform
Health care reform is a blanket term used to describe changing health policy in a given country, specifically in the United States. The United States is the only industrialized nation to not offer some sort of universal health care system, leading to charges that many people cannot afford access to health care. In 2008, health care reform was a major platform of Barack Obama’s candidacy and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, is seen as the first major step towards health care reform in the US in decades.
According to several international agencies, the United States ranks last among developed nations in its quality of health care. The private insurance system, combined with rising medical costs, has made both prevention and treatment of health care for average Americans a massive financial undertaking. Costs for health care in the United States, as measured by the OECD, are higher than any other nation.
Health care reform had its first push in the 1990s, in an effort led by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. Political pressure from special interest groups killed the measure. Barack Obama was able to pass the ACA, less than a universal health care system, which went into effect in January 2014. Under the ACA, insurance companies are not allowed to deny coverage or cap lifetime benefit payouts.