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What are some of the goals of health care reform?

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In the United States, some of the goals of health care reform are to significantly increase the number of individuals who have access to primary health care, control the growth of health care expenditures and enable individuals with pre-existing conditions to obtain comprehensive health care insurance coverage. The passage of legislation in March 2010, commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act or the ACA, was an attempt to achieve these goals while also lessening the burden of the increased uncompensated health care costs suffered by hospitals as a result of the recent U.S. economic recession. It is believed that the ACA will help reduce the cost of major health care interventions by enabling more than 30 million previously uninsured individuals to obtain timely primary health care and not delay needed treatment.

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Some other provisions of the ACA, which has been nicknamed "Obamacare," include limiting the ability of health insurance providers to drop coverage when insured individuals become ill, the requirement that insurance providers offer full coverage for certain preventive care measures and the elimination of limits on the amounts of lifetime coverage. The law provides tax credits to businesses offering their employees health insurance coverage, and companies with 50 or more full-time employees can be fined for not offering health insurance plans.

Health care reform also seeks to reduce waste in health care spending, which was been estimated to be between 20 to 30 percent at the end of 2011. Over-treatment, system complexity, lack of coordination and fraud are considered some of the major causes. In an effort to reduce the estimated 3 to 10 percent of fraudulent health care expenditures, the ACA specifies that longer jail term sentences be imposed on offenders.

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