A key question in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is how much the new law's expansion of Medicaid will cost states. In Washington Monthly, TCF fellow Harold Pollack notes a "false alarm" in a new report, which says that costs will increase, but only in the short run, and most of those costs will not fall to the states:
I hunted down the report and ran the numbers. The actuaries did indeed predict higher costs—but almost all in the first year when states wouldn’t have to pay any of these costs. (The higher costs seem to reflect pent-up demand and perhaps more pregnant women than predicted in this particular Medicaid pool. I would like to learn more about what’s happening as states gain experience in the expansion population.)
Pollack's full assessment is available here.
In Washington Monthly, TCF fellow Harold Pollack analyzes how the predictions of policy experts for the Supreme Court's decision in King v. Burwell, the case regarding Obamacare, fared:
Judging by my admittedly-clunky informal poll, the Obama administration’s emphatic victory surprised many close observers on both sides. Many Democrats reported that the plaintiffs had more than 0.5 probability of winning. Otherwise, why would the Supreme Court have jumped to take the case? We may never know the answer to that question.
Pollack's full column is available here.
In The Guardian, TCF fellow Michael Cohen looks to make sense of an extraordinarily eventful ten-day stretch in American history:
Nations do not usually change course on a dime and one must be careful not to overstate what’s happened. But in the 10 days after a uniquely American tragedy, this diverse, rancorous, often conflicted nation became slightly freer, slightly more generous, slightly more cognizant of its past and slightly more progressive than it was before. To paraphrase vice-president Joe Biden, that’s a big deal.
Read Cohen's full column here.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's federal subsidies. TCF fellow Michael Cohen spoke with healthcare experts, including TCF fellow Harold Pollack, to contemplate what improvements could be made to Obamacare.
There needs to be more money and better training for health care navigators, exchange websites need to be made more intuitive to help consumers make the best insurance decisions, and, above all, insurance companies should be forced to maintain up-to-date provider lists so consumers know, in advance, which doctors they can see. Now that Obamacare is free from legal challenges, perhaps the private sector can fill some of this gap.
Cohen's full column is available here.
With today's Supreme Court King v. Burwell decision, the Affordable Care Act has been upheld, and millions of Americans will remain covered by the law of the land. TCF fellow Harold Pollack discusses the decision and why he's glad that the "trolling exercise" is over and that politicians on both sides of the aisle can now get back to work on improving health care.
The government’s emphatic victory certainly embeds ACA more firmly in American life. Of course the political battle continues into the 2016 presidential election. If a Republican wins, major components of ACA will be constrained or altered. If a Democrat wins, many more states will participate in ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The components of ACA will become a more normalized arena of American interest-group and party politics. In either case, now that millions of people receive subsidized health coverage, and millions more enjoy other benefits associated with the new law, ACA is here to stay.
Read Pollack's piece in POLITICO.
TCF fellow Harold Pollack, who has chronicled health insurance issues in the past, conducted an interview with an individual who has incurred high costs for medical procedures and holds often conflicting (but mostly negative) views of the Affordable Care Act. Pollack delves into the politics of health care reform in the interview and provides a detailed transcript:
Lang: So I filled it out. I got approved. I go for my fourth session and the bill went from $80 … and I was expecting it to go down … went up to over $600.
Pollack: Oh, wow.
Lang: And so I’m like “Okay, I need an explanation of this.” And what they told me at that moment was because the Affordable Healthcare Act going into effect, he could no longer give me the discounts he was giving me. But I was okay with it because the three injections that I got was enough to clear my eye out.
Read the full transcription printed in healthinsurance.org
Compared to other advanced nations, America’s retirement security and health care systems offer weaker protections against risks we all face. The Century Foundation’s work focuses on ideas for strengthening Social Security, pensions, and health care – including steps for building on the Affordable Care Act.
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