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What Do Obamacare and Best Buy Have in Common?

Published June 1, 2013 1:49 PM by Glen McDaniel

 

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
reform.

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.

3 comments

I wish I could honestly say I have read the healthcare reform law cover to cover. I have not. Most people just read little pieces from online or watch a certain anti-administration television network.

They repeat all sorts of scary stuff that are nowhere to be found in the law. Before we judge we should be educated and not repeat lies. That is a very irresponsible path to take. Professionals should know better.

More and more states are jumping onboard and taking advantage of some arts of the law even if the governors are anti-Obama. So that says there must be some good aspects in there. It could not be all bad.

Jacinta T. June 18, 2013 5:47 PM
Chicago IL

From a totally selfish viewpoint it is sure to bring more business to the lab. One thing that worries me is whether insurance companies will get together and basicaly set reimbursement rates so we get paid less.

Government is already complaining about the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. Will they reduce lab reimbursement as a result.

In other words, will we get more patients, do more tests but end up getting the same amount of revenue

John June 3, 2013 9:53 AM
New York NY

OMG. I have not heard it explained so simply before. I think most people are just drinking the Kool Aid  of their political party or favorite network. Ask most people and they cant tell you what's in the bill itself.

In this country we think if someone benefits from a law then the rest of us must be paying for it. We do need to be informed. It is dangerous and wrong to repeat talking points without knowing the facts.

Justina T, Chief Tech June 2, 2013 3:16 PM
Winterhaven FL

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