By William Butler
From the national political arena to local communities, the landscape of medicine is always changing. These changes impact everyone whether you are a patient, student, or healthcare provider. But where can we notice these differences? In what ways have major changes already taken place?
Perhaps the most noticeable change is President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordability Act. This healthcare overhaul will mandate that businesses provide basic health insurance for their full-time employees and that all individuals will be insured. It also dictates services that insurance companies must pay for and changes the definition of insurance itself. Rather than being a service that insures the health of an individual, it will also pay for preexisting conditions. These changes are expected to create an exponential increase in demand for healthcare. According to the whitehouse.gov, 3.1 million more young adults already have healthcare due to the reform.
Lake Nona, Florida is aiming to service many of those that will be insured. Orlando’ is quickly developing Medical City which houses the University of Central Florida’s Health Sciences Campus, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nemours Children’s Hospital, the University of Florida Academic & Research Center, the MD Anderson Orlando Cancer Research Institute, and the future VA Medical Center. The Orlando Economic Development Commission projects that these institutions will create 30,000 jobs and boost 459.9$ million in annual tax revenue, 2.8$ billion in annual wages, and 7.6$ billion in annual economic activity by 2017. This does not include local businesses that are being built to support this area.
Quality healthcare is not like other industries. The supply is abnormally limited, expensive, and potentially dangerous. Regardless, the system we have now is not ideal and it is not certain if forcing individuals to participate in a market will produce better results. This lack of confidence can be felt across the country and our backyards. We asked pre-health students at the University of Central Florida how the Patient Protection and Affordability Act may impact their ambitions to pursue a career in medicine. Our results were a tossup with nearly 50% stating that it makes them more enthusiastic about a career in medicine and 50% stating that it makes them less enthusiastic about a career in medicine. This was in line with the June 2012 Gallup poll which asked how people felt about upholding of the mandate. About 46% agreed that it was constitutionally sound while 46% felt that it was unconstitutional.
William Butler is a psychology and pre-medical student at the University of Central Florida. He works as a receptionist for UCF Health Services at the College of Medicine in Lake Nona, Fl. He also volunteers for the MIT-2 lab, IMAlive suicide hotline, and UCF Counseling and Psychological Services Student Advisory Council. He is interested in neuroscience, music, and spending time with his friends and family. Despite his wide range of interests, William is NOT a medical or mental health professional and all attitudes expressed are opinions and are not intended to be used as medical advice.