Dept. of Health & Human Services releases Affordable Care Act report

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Image: Healthcare.gov/MGN Online

(CNN) — Days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the rollout of HealthCare.gov, the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchange website that was originally plagued with numerous technical glitches, the Department of Health and Human Services has released a report highlighting the impact of the law on hospital costs.

HHS, which oversees the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, said the report projects hospitals will save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs in 2014. Uncompensated care costs are those incurred by the hospitals that won’t be reimbursed. The report says $4.2 billion of the savings come from the 27 states — plus Washington, D.C. — that implemented a Medicaid expansion as part of the health care act, with the additional $1.5 billion in savings spread across the states that opted out of the expansion.

“Hospitals have long been on the front lines of caring for the uninsured, who often cannot pay the full cost of their care. Today’s news is good for families, businesses and taxpayers alike,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell before the report’s release.

The number of hospital visits by patients who are uninsured has fallen, the report found, and the general hypothesis is that because of the increase in individuals with health care insurance, the instances of uninsured hospital trips are less frequent, and that will continue to be a trend.

However, the report noted that “the extent of this reduction is an empirical question,” because there are a number of factors that will contribute to these costs, including “the extent to which newly insured individuals are able to meet the cost-sharing obligations imposed by their plans.”

Asked if these figures might encourage governors of states that originally opted against the expansion to revisit the option, Burwell said the issue was a very individualized one. “The medicaid issue is retail,” she told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday. “It is state by state.”

But the issue is also political. Of the 21 states that are not implementing the expansion, all but two of them — Missouri and Virginia — have Republican governors.

Burwell expressed cautious optimism that the recent decision by Republican Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to move forward with the Medicaid expansion could influence other GOP governors.

“I think it’s true that people are influenced by people who are like them” she said in response to a question about whether Corbett’s decision might inspire others. “I think the more that we are able to attract conservative Republican governors, the more that those who have very strong feelings will perhaps listen.”

According to numbers provided by HHS, a little over 10 million previously uninsured adults have gotten health care coverage since enrollment began last year.

8 comments

  • Say What

    Nothing but good news! It will not be long and the majority of public opinion will be supportive of Obamacare as they see that the Republicans told them nothing but lies! The oppositional dinosaurs are getting fewer, and fewer, and fewer. . . . .

    • Realityhurts

      Maybe good news for people who haven’t had or paid for insurance in the past, for those of us who have, however, the result has been a large increase in yearly insurance costs without an increase in coverage. The only people this system actually helps are those who as too “poor” to pay for insurance…

      • Say What

        That simply is not true. The premium increases are at their lowest in decades! The coverage offered by the Obamacare plans have more coverage than the majority of pre-Obamacare plans. You need to keep up with the news coming out concerning Obamacare — it is all good!!!

  • Branko Pezdi

    In addition to the lies in the comments above are these:

    If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor
    If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance
    More people will have health care, there will be more medical services, the overall cost of medical services will go down, and taxes will go down.

    Socialists need to lie constantly in order to push their agenda. The uninformed can get their news from sites like this which parrot government propagnda.

    • Say What

      Blanko, you need to drink a different flavor of Cool-Aid and stop hallucinating. You can keep your insurance. I had Blue Cross Blue Shield before Obamacare and I still have BCBS. The difference is that my new coverage is better with the Obamacare requirements. I am paying less after my subsidy. I am still going to the same doctor as before Obamacare. The cost curve for medical costs is trending down. Read the Forbes article linked below for details. There was nothing in Obamacrae that promised anything about lowering any taxes. You need to put your hatred for the President aside — it is blinding you to the truth!

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/02/12/new-data-suggests-obamacare-is-actually-bending-the-healthcare-cost-curve/

      • Realityhurts

        “I am paying less after my subsidy”, not everyone gets subsidies..guess that’s the price we pay for getting an education and supporting ourselves financially

      • Say What

        Tax subsidies for premiums are available for households up to $94,200 (family of four). The median household income in America is $51,371. That means that well over half of all household will qualify for the subsidy.

      • TruthLivesHere

        Your subsidy. Well you’re welcome Say What. You’re welcome because I know you’re thanking me and everyone else that go to work everyday. Go to work everyday and have our paychecks raped so you and your kind can have your subsidies. By the way, my premiums tripled. But that’s alright, I don’t need a subsidy. I’ll pay my own way.

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