Well, what a surprise. Healthcare insurance is back in the news.
But, the problem is really how do we find ways to ensure (not insure) that citizens have adequate access to healthcare. And, then how do we find ways to pay for that.
One of the biggest problems with Obamacare is the the inability to determine what next year’s costs are really going to be. From the big insurers’ point of view, they feel that their inability to know who is (and how many who’s are) going to sign on to the program before they list their proposed premiums. From the small (and newly formed coops) insurers’ point of view it has been the changing rules as to who is responsible for the transfer payments from the lower cost insurance pool to the higher ones.
As I’ve reported, the health insurers and our employers have been shifting the health cost burden onto the insured over the past few years. And, now, given that many of the poor are on Medicare or subsidized Obamacare (PPACA) programs, it means that it’s pretty much just the the middle class that is feeling the pain of these cost shifts. (It is such a small amount of money to the rich that the change is not truly noticed by them.)
Yesterday, we spoke about how PPACA (Obamacare) has been attenuating the US healthcare cost spiral. Over the past few years, the overall cost growth has dropped dramatically. But, many of us don’t feel the love- because our employers and our insurance companies have been playing the “cost shifting” game. They’ve changed our co-insurance, they’ve raised our deductibles- claiming that when we have ‘skin in the game’, we are more attentive to the costs of our healthcare.
The health care cost spiral is slowing- finally. Prior to 2008, the increase averaged at least 8% a year- for two decades! Over the past 5 years (up to 2014), total healthcare costs have growing by less than 3% annually. That trend is up for grabs through, as the last year’s(2015) increase seems to 5.5%- but the current year’s increase will be a little less at 4.8%. Except, these numbers still don’t tell the whole story….
This is the third part of an update of what is going on with Obamacare.
On Thursday, we discussed why – without states expanding Medicaid and without approving the use of more physicians assistants and nurse practitioners- the ability to provide health care to rural America is a difficult task.
Yesterday, we talked about Obamacare and its purported failure in the rural regions of the US. Those regions have always been problem areas for healthcare. Long before there was a hint of the program. Too few practitioners, little density to support hospitals, and the population is generally a little poorer than the rest of the US.