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Next year's health care reform will be a "mess," experts predict

Friday, March 15, 2013 6:14 PM
Last updated Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:59 PM
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BOSTON — When health care reforms begin this year and new insurance starts next year, it will not be pretty, health experts said.

“This is going to be a mess,” said Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, likening it to the bumpy launch of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program in 2006, which was “1/100th as complex” as the Affordable Care Act will be.

Most Americans who are insured through their employers probably won’t be affected, and only a small number are likely to see high premiums, he said.

State governors who have so far resisted federal money to expand Medicaid, such as Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, are likely to cave in as they see large amounts of funding go elsewhere, Gruber predicted. If not, they “should be immediately fired,” he said.

The experts spoke Friday as part of a panel on health care reform at the annual meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

So far, two states – Massachusetts and Utah – have implemented some form of health insurance exchanges, which allow the uninsured to purchase health insurance with subsidies for most low- and middle-income buyers.

The two states are very different, but “the fact that both came up with an exchange should tell you something,” said Cheryl Smith, the first director of Utah’s exchange and now a director for Leavitt Partners. “Exchanges are an idea whose time has come.”

Just how quickly they will get started in other states and how well they will work is the question, she said.

More than half of the states have chosen not to create their own exchanges. The federal government will operate the exchanges for those states, but it is not know whether there will be insurance plans, most traditionally regulated by the state, approved for those state exchanges, Smith said.

“Do they have willing regulators there? That’s a big question,” she said.

Everything must be ready by open enrollment in the fall.

“We believe something will be ready to go by Oct. 1” when enrollment in the exchanges, now called marketplaces, begins, she said.

That won’t affect as many people as some have predicted, Gruber said.

“The majority of Americans, their insurance is not really affected by this law,” he said.

Those who buy insurance on their own, which is about 6 to 7 percent of Americans, probably will be most affected, Gruber said. Lower-income younger and older people might be “winners” because of subsidies in the plan. Those most likely to see higher rates will be young people whose income is above 400 percent of the federal poverty rate, he said.

“When we’re talking about ‘rate shock,’ we’re not talking about something that is going to affect America (as a whole); we’re talking about a slice of a slice of Americans,” he said. “The aggregate effect is really tiny.”

Coverage kicks in Jan. 1, but implementing it could take a year to sort out all the problems, he said.

Also up in the air is state resistance to expanding Medicaid, which the federal government will fund 100 percent for the first three years. For states including Georgia, the federal share will not drop below 90 percent. Many Republican governors originally opposed to the expansion have agreed recently to take the expansion, which would increase eligibility for Georgia and many other states from the federal poverty level to 133 percent of that level.

“They are literally doing a massive disservice (to their citizens),” Gruber said. “Their taxpayers pay, anyway.”

In states that don’t expand Medicaid, people will end up on the exchanges, perhaps raising rates 5 to 15 percent for others there, he said.

“There’s a huge pot of money that is sitting there for these states to take that,” Gruber said. “I guess I’m just enough of an economist to believe eventually they’ll take it.”

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Fiat_Lux
16445
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/15/13 - 06:22 pm
5
1
Do any of these smart people ever stop to recall

that this is OUR MONEY in that pot.

Sweet son
11762
Points
Sweet son 03/15/13 - 06:32 pm
5
1
@Fiat_Lux!

Those smart people don't care about "our money" it is just another way to give it away! Whoever these so called "smart people" should be made to pay twice as much as us who are just "common people" who do nothing more than just pay taxes! We "common joes" just get tired of paying for those who contribute "nothing" and I mean "nothing" for the cost of their care.

PassingOnBy
369
Points
PassingOnBy 03/15/13 - 07:12 pm
3
0
Miss this part, did you?

"In those states that don’t expand Medicaid, those people will end up on the exchanges and could raise rates 5 to 15 percent for others there, he said."

I wish Congress had just dusted off the Nixon-Kennedy plan from back in the 1970s and been done with it.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 03/15/13 - 07:15 pm
0
0
I can't wait for the new
Unpublished

I can't wait for the new healthcare laws to come into effect. It's about time more Americans will have access to healthcare. I'd rather put the money there instead of tax cuts and loopholes for the wealthy.

Riverman1
94247
Points
Riverman1 03/16/13 - 05:06 am
2
2
Nothing to do now, but play

Nothing to do now, but play along.

allhans
24974
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allhans 03/16/13 - 06:42 am
3
2
"Most Americans who are

"Most Americans who are insured through their employers probably won’t be affected, and only a small number are likely to see high premiums, he said."

Really?

Dec 2012:WASHINGTON -- YOUR medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It's a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.
The Obama administration says it is to be levied for three years starting in 2014, designed to raise $25 billion.
Most of the money will go into a fund administered by the Health and Human Services Department.....

^
And we wonder why insurance cost is so high...and why large companies are not happy...
During a Senate committee hearing yesterday with Medicare, Jim mCDermott (D) asked the spokesman about Obamacare and doctors. The Medicare spokesman said the biggest complaint they have from users (this includes those with individual plans) is that of finding a primary care physician..and with 30 million people joining that group in 2014....
>(It can be seen in its entirety c-span.org)

wayne2410
1239
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wayne2410 03/16/13 - 08:02 am
0
0
They had better do something
Unpublished

They had better do something about it, the economy will not survive the health care act. You can't pay the mortgage or the power bill with health insurance.

wayne2410
1239
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wayne2410 03/16/13 - 08:03 am
0
0
Duplicate
Unpublished

Duplicate post

justthefacts
25478
Points
justthefacts 03/16/13 - 08:13 am
3
2
Baloney

"Most Americans who are insured through their employers probably won’t be affected, and only a small number are likely to see high premiums, he said". And his nose grew two inches!

GiantsAllDay
10561
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/16/13 - 09:47 am
2
2
BOHICA

BOHICA: Bend over, here it comes again.

deestafford
32200
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deestafford 03/16/13 - 10:41 am
3
2
A couple of stupid points made by these "experts":

Only the 6-7 % who are willing to pay for their own insurance are going to be effected? So, those who are willing to take care of themselves are to be punished while those who make less than 400% of the poverty level are going to mooch off the others.

Fire the state governors who refuse to such off the federal teats? It is amazing that they want to get rid of those who wish to not help the country go futher into the hole.

Folks, we ain't begun to see how bad this who Obamacare is going to degrade this country and its economy. It's laughable in a way in that there will be more people uninsured and with lower quality health care than there was before this fiasco.

Young Fred
21146
Points
Young Fred 03/16/13 - 11:07 am
3
1
Those paying attention

Those paying attention predicted this would be a “mess” back when Obamacare was originally being debated. Only those with their head in the sand thought otherwise.

The expert quoted in this article is so full of it, I had to wear my waders while reading the article, and then had to step outside and spray off with a water hose.

allhans
24974
Points
allhans 03/16/13 - 02:58 pm
2
1
Some actually thought this

Some actually thought this would be another "free" program and they are more than ready for anything that smells so good.
Never did they realize that - most, not all - of the 30 million that WILL hurt by this are those who are not covered now or has Medicaid......

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 03/16/13 - 05:10 pm
0
0
The people
Unpublished

who advocate for obamacare have both hands in the average American's pockets. The White House is as corrupt as the city its occupant claims as his residence---chicago.

r
409
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r 03/16/13 - 05:33 pm
1
1
Work in the medical field!!!

If you work in the medical field your life is already taking over because of Obama care!!! Work More with Less.. You can thin this fine until it is you or your family needing the care!!!

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