In Health Affairs (AHCJ members get free access), economist Joseph Newhouse considers how health care reform will affect four major groups. They’re summarized below.
- Uninsured or on Medicaid or CHIP (30 percent)
- Insured individually or through a small business (10 percent)
- Insured through a mid-size or large business (45 percent)
- Recipient of Medicare (15 percent)
Medicaid expansion and broader subsidies are “major gains.”
This group will undergo the most change, with the individual mandate expanding their ranks to as much as 50 million people (16 percent of Americans). Health reform should “repair” this now-broken sector of the market.
A wash, as an insurance tax is balanced out by a reduced need to cover uncompensated care for the uninsured.
Complicated. The doughnut hole will close, but future financing sources are murky. Newhouse goes pretty deep into just how murky.
His conclusion is relatively upbeat. Newhouse writes that while reform “addressed many issues in health care financing, it left many others unresolved.” The system will need to be revised and updated throughout the foreseeable future, Newhouse writes, and effective implementation will “require persistence for many years to come.”