Affordable Health Care Act Hurting The Middle Class Or Helping The Low And Middle Class

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Affordable Health Care Act Hurting The Middle Class Or Helping The Low And Middle Class

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Background

The Affordable Care Act refers to an Act that became signed into law in March 2010 (Davidson & Stavich, 2011). It is a health care law, which aims at enhancing the health care system of Americans by broadening the health coverage and protecting the existing policy holders of health insurance. Different people have varied opinions concerning the Affordable Care Act based on its implication and benefits to them. Although the Act is viewed to benefit the poor group by offering them a health care plan that they could otherwise not access, it leaves various issues unsolved. For example, some of the issues with the Act are that, doctors lack incentive to specialize, insurance companies have issues concerning the implementation of new stipulations, and the middle income earners feel that they have the burden of paying for the poor groups (Feldman et al, 2010). This research will offer information regarding how people feel concerning the Affordable Care Act; especially the middle income earners. Since middle income earners face a problem of declining incomes as the price of basic commodities is increasing, this research will aim at finding out whether increasing the wages of the middle and low class individuals, that already have insurance, will contribute towards them going up. Key issues facing the middle income earners in the United States with regard to the Affordable Care Act will be discussed.

In conducting this research, the population segment under study is the insured middle income earners. These constitute of those individuals residing both in the rural areas and small town centers. The population segment provides workforce in varied sectors of the economy, which implies that all sectors of the economy are put into consideration. One of the major social issues that the middle income earners are facing entails the declining income while most of the basic products have an increasing trend in price; for instance, education, housing, insurance and energy. This implies that the middle income earners have a social problem of affording most of the basic products due to the increasing price of the products. Affording health is a key social problem facing the middle income earners as they are not capable of paying for their insurance; this makes them be against the Affordable Care Act. The following data depict the declining income for the middle income earners, and the increasing cost data on different basic products.

The percentage of income distribution in the middle income earners is showing a decreasing trend, which implies that their income is also declining within the period given.

Source: http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

The graph shows that the price of housing has been increasing over the years. This just one of the basic commodities that a middle income earner would require to keep life moving. With the decline in the income earned, it emerges that most middle income earners have issues affording basic commodities such as health.

Apart from the middle income earners having a declining income, they also have another problem, which is income inequality. Different individuals in the middle class have varied earnings as indicated in the graph below; because of the difference in incomes, different individuals have varied purchasing power, when it comes to the buying of the basic commodities (Tilly, 1991).

Source: http://inequality.org/income-inequality/

One of the social factors that contributes to the problem of decreasing income to the middle income earners constitute the increasing number of dependents. The size of families is increasing and has increased in the past few years, but the income level has not changed over the ears. The increasing number of dependants seeks job opportunities in the varied sectors, where the other family members are employed leading to overcrowding in the workplace. However, because everyone has to earn wages, there is a decline in whatever the families used to earn before. Since the wage does not match with the family size, affordability of health care becomes a problem. Besides, because of the higher proportion of individuals desiring to provide the labor, the wage rate declines leading to a declining earning over the years. On the other hand, wage inequality is caused by the level of education that exist between individuals. Individuals that are more literate receive a higher pay than those without education (George et al, 2006). In addition, experience constitutes another factor that influences the difference in the incomes; individuals with a lot of experience are likely to earn more than those with less or no experience.

Other than the social factors, cultural factors also contribute to the income inequalities between individuals. Based on the beliefs of some individuals, there exist differences in the type of work that one can do; for example, Muslims and Christians have different beliefs concerning the place of work. While a Christian can work confidently in a slaughter house selling bacon and cheese, it is exceedingly difficult for a Muslim to work in such an environment. Therefore, based on the beliefs, there will be inequality in incomes between individuals. Besides, the working habit of individuals determines the income earned. In addition, how one perceives a certain type of work also influences his earnings, which imply that different people will tend to choose between different jobs based on their perception towards the job. This creates income differences because different jobs attract different incomes. Because of wage inequality, the middle income earners have a problem in affording health.

The political aspect regarding the issue of affordability of health insurance is that politicians have an influence on the decision made concerning laws made by the government. This implies that, politicians can influence people to vote for the Affordable Care Act regardless of its impact on the middle income earners. After the passing of the Affordable Care Act, the politicians also have a mandate in ensuring that the Act is implemented. This implies that politicians will be against anyone opposing the Affordable Care Act since they influence the manner in which the Act becomes fully implemented as a law. Besides, the Affordable Care Act can become politicized such that the middle income earners bear all the cost of covering the health cost. For instance, politicians may fail to allocate funds on the health policy, which will shift the total burden to the middle income earners because the funds for the poor should be paid by the government, while the upper class does not need to pay for the health care since they can afford expensive health care (Hofer et al, 2011). Thus, failure of the government to chuck in resources for the care will imply that the middle income earners will pay for the health care alone since they are the major tax payers. On the economic aspect, the middle income earners will not have the capacity to afford the insurance cover because the price of other basic goods is on the rise because of inflation; house rent is also high for those middle income earners residing in small town centers. The increasing cost of rent and basic goods will make it difficult for the middle income earners to afford the health insurance. On the other hand, the middle income earners are highly taxed, which implies that they are left with little income to spend, which makes it difficult to afford the health care insurance. The legal aspect of the issue is that once the Affordable Care Act became a law, it has to be amended despite the effect on the middle income earners.

The ethical aspect of the issue is that a policy is not supposed to favor a certain group or individuals at the expense of others, but should benefit all stakeholders equally. The Affordable Care Act tends to favor the poor at the expense of the middle income earners since the poor do not need to contribute anything since it is catered for by the government; however, the middle income earners pay higher taxes in order to facilitate the success of the program. Based on the income that the middle income earners receive, they should not pay higher taxes than the upper class in facilitating the program. The Affordable Care Act is not ethical since it does not benefit all the stakeholders equally, or based on the contribution. Practically, the Affordable Care Act benefits the poor more than the middle income earners, who pay high insurance costs for the medical care. Based on the features of the Affordable Care Act, it is practical but affects the middle income earners the most, despite their declining incomes and increasing inflation.

Different levels contribute to the failure of the middle income earners to afford insurance for the health cover proposed by the Affordable Care Act; these levels entail personal, group and societal levels. At a personal level, the problem is usually contributed by the education level. The level of education determines what a person earns; therefore, individuals with low literacy levels receive low incomes, which implies that they will eventually have a problem with affording the insurance cover proposed by the Affordable Care Act. At the group level, the chief contributing factor of the issue is politics. Political leaders area usually involved in the making of policies, which affect taxation and rates. As a result of political leaders passing policies that encourage high taxation on the middle income earners, the middle income earners are immensely affected by the taxes leading to their failure in affording the medical insurance cover as proposed by the Affordable Care Act. On the other hand, at the societal level, inequalities in the incomes paid are the chief contributor to the affordability problem (Jennifer & Jeffrey, 2002). Because of the income inequalities in the society, middle income earners receive low income, which make affordability of the medical cover a problem.

The Affordable Care Act has personal, professional and ethical implications to the society. Because of the rising cost of insurance, individuals that are salaried will need to pay higher insurance premium, which implies that they will need to fetch deep into their incomes. This will definitely reduce the savings since the salaried will need to spend more than they used to before the Affordable Care Act. Besides, since the Affordable Care Act proposes health for all, some people may not have access to health facilities because of too much formality and congestion. The Affordable Care Act is going to impact the professionalism in the society; people will be focused more on the provision of the health care insurance for everyone; forgetting about the issue of the health care workforce. Failure to provide enough workforce will create problems in the society since the health care may have only a few professionals, which imply that the service delivery will be greatly affected. Because of fewer health care professionals and the increasing number of individuals requiring medical care, there will be inefficiencies in the delivering of services to the people, which may even lead to poor health care. Therefore, rather than enhancing the health care, the Affordable Care Act may negatively impact it. Besides, it is going to impact professionalism because although it provides  a direction regarding the provision of health care, it does not provide a model concerning how health care providers will receive compensation for non-payment. On the other hand, the Affordable Care Act will also have ethical implications in society. Although the Affordable Care Act seeks to bring equality in the provision of health care to all individuals, it may be unethical because are not likely to receive health benefits commensurate to their payment. The Affordable Care Act leads to an increased insurance, but does not provide enough workforce. This implies that individuals will not be capable of receiving value for their contribution.

The two sociological perspectives that can be used in providing an explanation concerning the challenges faced by the insured middle income earners. The two perspectives are functionalist and conflict perspectives. The challenge faced by the insured middle income earners is social stratification, which makes it difficult for them to afford the increasing cost of insurance. According to the functionalist perspective, social stratification is deemed necessary so as to induce individuals with special knowledge, skills, and intelligence to enter the most vital occupations (Erickson & Goldthorpe, 2002). Hence, stratification is necessary and inevitable. Therefore, the insured middle income earners face the challenge because of their education level and level of intelligence. On the other hand, according to the conflict theory, social stratification is a consequence of lack of opportunity and due to prejudice and discrimination against a group. Ther.............


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