Here’s Evidence Obamacare Isn’t Lowering Healthcare Costs
By Meghan Foley
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Affordable Care Act — known colloquially as Obamacare — will not solve rising health insurance costs. Theoretically, it would seem that ensuring more Americans had access to health insurance coverage would mean that more people would forgo expensive emergency room care in favor of less-expensive appointments with doctors and nurse practitioners. This logic was often employed by those defending the healthcare reform while the legislation was being debated in 2009. But that reasoning was “sometimes a misleading motivator for the Affordable Care Act,” Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the Washington Post. “The law isn’t designed to save money. It’s designed to improve health, and that’s going to cost money.”
Hints that the Affordable Care Act would not be a motivator for lower healthcare costs came in the September release of a report published in the journal Health Affair. Actuaries for at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, reasoned that while healthcare costs have indeed decreased in the past several years, there is no sign that the Affordable Care Act was responsible for drop in healthcare-related costs. Rather, the economic recession has been cited as the culprit, which seems reasonable given that costs are expected to jump 6.1 percent in 2014, the year the individual insurance mandate is implemented.
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