Affordable Care Act/ PPACA
The Affordable Care Act health/ PPACA reform was enacted in March 2010 as a way of making medical insurance available to more people, expand Medicaid access to individuals below the federal poverty level, and enhance low-cost innovative healthcare. Interestingly, the PPACA was to ensure that insurance plans were no longer a barrier to quality health care. Unfortunately, the act has one undesirable feature; people who opted out were penalized, a condition that did not go well with small businesses and employees.
Tension between Individual Rights and the Collective Good
In the current volatile public health environment, governments reexamine old public health care policies, from several standpoints to come up with a joint health care system. The current law acts as a foundational tool for enforcement and is equally important in recognizing and protecting individual interests. There are principles that governments incorporate into the public laws, which leads to a better balance between the needs of the society and the collective good (Blum & Talib, 2006). However, sometimes and despite their collective good, some of these laws end up creating tension between individual rights and societal need. Essentially, this usually happens when respect for individual rights is compromised by the broad need of public health protection. To conceive the concept of tension between individual rights and the collective good, it is important to expand our thinking. Virtually, and among other public health regulations, the Affordable care Act represents the clash f individual rights and the protection of the society better. Making the medical insurance available to the overall community is good for the society, but making the act mandatory and introducing penalties when individuals opt out is infringing of the rights of the people. This is particularly the case looking at it from the perspective of small businesses owners and employees, who may have to put up with an additional financial burden as a way of avoiding penalties. Another example that aligns with the tension between individual rights and the collective good is the policy on mandatory childhood vaccinations (Blum & Talib, 2006). Some parents prefer not to administer the vaccines to their children for personal reasons or due to the controversial discussions doing rounds concerning childhood vaccines and mercury. In this context, the ultimate question remains how the legal system can accommodate the pressure and allow for exceptions to mandatory policies in the face of creating a balance between individual rights and the collective good.
Ethical and Legal Consideration of the Policy
In this paradigm, universal health insurance policy is important in several ways. For instance, lack of health insurance is a major economic barrier to quality health care. As Ruger (2008), points out, health care reforms require a consensus to address the public good, without creating an imbalance in the rights of the individuals. Among others, the ethical consideration of the health care policy should evaluate costs. The aim of this paradigm is to protect people from discrimination while curbing exorbitantly costly care that would deny some people health resources. Besides, adherence to this principle will eliminate the barriers to affordable and efficient care. Similarly, from a legal standpoint, the most controversial aspect of the health care policy is the fact that it is not only mandatory, but individuals who opt out have to bear penalties. According to Blum & Talib (2006), the most efficient way to handle this is for the legal system to come up with ways to allow exceptions to the mandatory policies. By doing this, the health care systems can be viewed as a consideration in creating strategies to fight emerging health care problems, that respects individual rights, while considering the societal needs.
Blum, J. D., &Talib, N. (2006). Balancing individual rights versus collective good in public health enforcement. Medicine & Law, 25(2), pp. 273–281.
Ruger, J. P. (2008). Ethics in American health 2: An ethical framework for health system reform. American Journal of Public Health, 98(1), pp. 1756–1763.
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