“A four-year slowdown in health spending growth could be coming to an end.
Americans used more medical care in 2013 as the economy recovered, new reports show. Federal data suggests that health care spending is now growing just as quickly as it was prior to the recession.”
“As President Obama took his victory lap Tuesday, declaring that 7.1 million people signed up for coverage through his health care program, he said, “The bottom line is this: Under this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up and the growth of health care costs is down.”
This wasn’t the first time that Obama attempted to credit his health care law for the slowdown in the growth rate of health care spending that’s been recorded in recent years.”
“President Obama’s promise that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it was the most infamous of the Affordable Care Act’s sketchy sales pitches. But many of the law’s most damaging aspects are less known, buried in thousands of pages of regulations.
Consider the “fee”—really a hidden sales tax—that all health-insurance companies have been forced to pay since the first of this year on premiums for policies sold to individuals and small and medium-size businesses. The health-insurance tax—known as HIT in business circles—is expected to generate revenues of about $8 billion this year and as much as $14.3 billion by 2018, according to the legislation.”
“Young workers signed up for company health plans at a lower rate than last year, a surprising result that kept overall corporate enrollment rates flat.
American companies had been bracing for a big bump in the number of employees signing on to workplace plans as a result of the new government mandate that most American adults buy health insurance or pay a penalty. New data on worker behavior for the 2014 coverage year from payroll services supplier ADP suggests that surge of enrollment never happened, at least for large companies.”
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has served as a catalyst to an ongoing national debate on the cost of health care in the United States. An important aspect of this question is the cost impact of the new law on the employer community. Employers spend $578.6 billion annually in providing health coverage for 170.9 million employees, retirees, and dependents. If the law leads to significant cost increases for them, this would affect the behavior of employers, which could in turn affect how—and even whether—they provide health care for their employees.”
“A few weeks ago the Obama Administration reported that enrollment in the new insurance marketplaces topped four million through the end of February, then five million by mid- March, showing steady progress since the website woes of October. News organizations jumped on the numbers. Would they get to six million enrollees this year, a target many use for the law? If they do, do they have enough young adults to balance the risk pool? If they don’t, won’t premiums skyrocket? The scorecards were out.”
“The Obama administration’s decision to let some consumers enroll in health plans beyond Monday’s deadline sparked concern among insurers and prompted fresh attacks from opponents of the health law.
A surge of consumers is expected to hit HealthCare.gov before Monday’s deadline to sign up for insurance and avoid a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. In the past, heavy traffic has stalled the federal site.”
“Obamacare is still struggling to sign up young people. In order to offset the high cost of the older, and probably less healthy people who are joining Obamacare plans, the White House must coerce a sufficient number of thirty-somethings to also join. Problem is, the health plans are too pricey to make economic sense for many young adults.”
“An estimated 30 million Americans are expected to gain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and a healthy and sizable workforce will be needed to meet the increased demand. The health care workforce is already facing a critical shortfall of health professionals over the next decade. The ACA breaks the promises of access and quality of care for all Americans by escalating the shortage and increasing the burden and stress on the already fragile system. The ACA’s attempts to address the shortage are unproven and limited in scope, and the significant financial investment will not produce results for years due to the training pipeline. With the ACA’s estimated 190 million hours of paperwork annually imposed on businesses and the health care industry, combined with shortages of workers, patients will be facing increasing wait times, limited access to providers, shortened time with caregivers, and decreased satisfaction. The health care workforce is facing increased stress and instability, and a major redesign of the workforce is needed to extend care to millions of Americans.”
“In New York state, 7.6% plan to fire or refrain from hiring in order to stay under the mandate, and 6.5% plan to shift from full time to part-time workers. In Philly the answers are 5.6% and 8.3%, respectively. Many also planned to outsource work. [Respondents were allowed to select more than one option.] Whether companies carry out these strategies will depend greatly on the level of demand in coming years. But the shift to part-time workers would carry on a trend started in the last recession that has been slow to reverse in this recovery.”