What Do Obamacare and Best Buy Have in Common?
The debate about the serpentine, complicated Affordable Care Act (so called Obamacare) continues. Aspects of the bill phase in over time, we know. It is also commonly accepted that many more individuals will be insurable and insured; creating a greater potential pool of consumers of medical laboratory tests.
Most people will continue to receive healthcare through employer-subsidized plans through their place of employment. Others will be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Not much will change for those people. The people who will be most affected are those who are unemployed or some other reason do not fall into one of the "covered" categories. Just to put it in perspective, actuarial studies indicate that in 2014 just over 7 million individuals, representing 2.5 percent of the population will need to buy health insurance.
Insurance will be available commercially from private companies, or individuals can take advantage of the economies of scale afforded by group purchasing at discounted prices through so called health exchanges or marketplaces run by states or by the federal government if the state elects not to set up its own exchange. As the population grows, this insurance consumer group is expected to grow as well. For example by 2023, the pool of folks needing to purchase their
own health insurance will be around 24 million or 8 percent of the population. Depending on the point you wish to make, you can argue that is a huge number or simply a fraction of the population.
The debate over the cost of the Affordable Care act is so tinged with political bias that it is often difficult to know what to believe. As medical laboratory scientist we are not experts on every aspect of healthcare. However if your friends and family are like mine, they do expect you to be able to speak intelligently about many issues including healthcare
An article in the Wall Street Journal uses the simplest analogy to cut through the clutter and demystify the entire concept of the cost of health insurance acquired through insurance exchanges. It also debunks the knee jerk reaction that says "it must cost more."
It is a little bit of an oversimplification and does not consider nuances like private commercial insurance and tax penalties for not buying insurance, but it does cover the majority of the marketplace. It does use real data from one of the more mature insurance exchange markets, so there is no "guesstimate" involved. It is worth a read.