Friday, June 26, 2015

Measuring Health Insurance Subsidies’ Success

JUNE 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Affordable Care Act, saved by the Supreme Court for the second time in three years, has changed the fabric of health care in America, providing treatment and coverage to millions of the uninsured while transforming the insurance and hospital industries. But the law still faces stiff political resistance in many quarters and could yet return as an explosive issue in the 2016 elections.

The impact of the law appears most clearly in the shrinking number of uninsured Americans. In 2014, the number of people without health insurance coverage fell to 36 million from 44.8 million in 2013, a decline of nearly 20 percent, according to data released this week by the National Center for Health Statistics.

That decline was made possible in part by federal insurance subsidies, which the court upheld on Thursday, and by the expansion of Medicaid in more than half of the states, which was financed under the law.

Health insurance companies have reinvented themselves, adopting new business models. The law requires them to accept anyone who applies for insurance and prohibits them from charging sick people more, as they did for decades. Insurers not only survived but are thriving, and the industry is being swept by interest in mergers as companies try to cut costs and premiums while preserving their profits.

(More here.)


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