The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) attempts to reduce health care costs and help the vulnerable categories of Americans who are not able to pay for needed health insurance. However, after the passage of the ACA, the debates over fiscal pressure of Medicare and Medicaid have increased substantially, and some state governors rejected the new legislation’s expanded coverage rulings (Reisch, 2012).
People who doubt the legislation’s effectiveness are disturbed by the issues of the aging population and high costs of health care services, subsequently resulting in funding shortages. National surveys of 2010 and 2012 showed that some people have misunderstandings of the ACA. For example, some people felt uncertain if they had to disclose their illnesses to their employers or if “death panels” of bureaucrats must decide their cases (Gross et al., n. d.). These false ideas were induced by political preferences, relatively low levels of literacy, cultural and language barriers.
I consider that one of the main ACA’s benefits is that it increases affordability, health insurance coverage, and access to health care services for young adults. Both married and unmarried children under the age of 26 could be included in their parents’ health insurance even if they are offered employer-based coverage (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, n. d.). New Jersey supports that ruling and provides additional coverage plans for young adults.
According to the ACA, social workers be more active in performing their traditional roles. Social workers should contribute to social determinants of health studies, link patients with mental disorders to experienced peer navigators, focus on preventive care in community-based programs, and execute follow-up activities (Lindberg, 2013). The legislation also demands social workers to obtain screening and assessment skills to identify mental and substance abuse issues and refine the application of advanced technologies. Social workers could influence the system by improving coordination among specialists and providing virtual care (Lindberg, 2013).
The medical social worker’s role in clarifying the ACA to patients and families is invaluable. Social workers should take on the roles of navigators and assistors, encouraging uninsured individuals to enroll in health insurance programs (Darnell, 2013). Moreover, social workers could perform public education activities, distribute culturally and linguistically adjusted information, and providing referrals to offices responsible for answering questions about coverage.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n. d.). Coverage for young adults. Web.
Darnell, J. S. (2013). Navigators and assisters: Two case management roles for social workers in the Affordable Care Act. Health & Social Work, 38(2), 123–126. Web.
Gross, W., Stark, T. H., Krosnick, J., Pasek, J., Sood, G., Tompson, T., Agiesta, J., & Junius, D. (n. d.). Americans’ attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act: Would better public understanding increase or decrease favorability? Web.
Lindberg, E. (2013). What will Obamacare mean to social work? USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Web.
Reisch, M. (2012). The challenges of health care reform for hospital social work in the United States. Social Work in Health Care, 51(10), 873–893. Web.