Doctors Brace for Health Law’s Surge of Ailing Patients
2 To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs This story is part of Barack Obama Obama to tout health care plan at Clinton forum David Jackson, USA TODAY 8:03 p.m. EDT September 23, 2013 Facing a pivotal time for his signature health care law, President Obama will promote the program during a forum Tuesday hosted by predecessor Bill Clinton. Presidents Obama and Clinton Obama will speak a week before the opening of health care exchanges Some Republicans are trying to block funding for the plan Hillary Rodham Clinton will introduce the two presidents before the forum SHARE 2 CONNECT 20 TWEET 2 COMMENTEMAILMORE Facing a pivotal time for his signature health care law, President Obama will promote the program during a forum Tuesday hosted by predecessor Bill Clinton in New York City. Obama will speak at the Clinton Global Initiative exactly one week before the opening of new health insurance marketplaces; the administration needs most uninsured Americans to sign up for health insurance because it is essential to the overall financing of the plan.
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Health-Care Costs Are Driven By Technology, Not Presidents
Congress defined “affordable” as 9.5% or less of an employee’s household income, mostly to make sure people did not leave their workplace plans for subsidized coverage through the exchanges. But the “error” was that it only applies to the employee and not his or her family. So, if an employer offers a woman affordable insurance, but doesn’t provide it for her family, they cannot get subsidized help through the state health exchanges. That can make a huge difference; the Kaiser Family Foundation said an average plan for an individual is about $5,600, but it goes up to $15,700 for families. Most employers help out with those costs, but not all. “We saw this two-and-a-half years ago and thought, ‘Has anyone else noticed this?'” said Kosali Simon, a professor of public affairs at Indiana University who specializes in health economics. “Everyone said, ‘No, no.
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Patient Surplus The Lawrence Family Medicine Residency , which provides primary care and other medical services to a largely low-income patient population, saw an uptick in patients, said Joseph Gravel, chief medical officer and residency program director. When you look at the experience in Massachusetts, its going to be bumpy when Obamacare rolls out, Gravel said in a telephone interview. The percentage of family doctors in the state accepting new patients has dropped 19 percent in the past seven years and the percentage of internists accepting new patients has fallen 21 percent over nine years, according to a July report by the Massachusetts Medical Society, an advocacy group for patients and physicians. Only about half of family doctors were accepting new patients this year. The Cleveland Clinic predicts as many as 90,000 new patients in northeast Ohio if everyone signs up for coverage.
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‘Family glitch’ in health law could be painful
But most of the discussion gave this little weight; even if you think health-care expenditure is very high, the decline in income is not large enough to explain the sharp slowdown in cost growth. A similar difficulty faces those who would attribute the bulk of the decline to more cost-sharing — it may help, but its just not significant enough to have produced the sharp slowdown our nation has experienced over the last 7 years. Overall, even over the last decade, the percentage of out-of-pocket costs has gone down, not up. What about price controls? Heres one of the interesting things from the paper: Medicare has held the line on prices, but utilization is high, so costs grew anyway. Private insurers have held the line on utilization, but had little success at controlling prices, so costs grew anyway. Medicaid has controlled both, but its not clear that this is a sustainable strategy.
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