News / USA

Without Reform, Obamacare Could Raise Health Care Costs

Without Reform, Obamacare Could Raise Health Care Costsi
X
October 09, 2013 4:15 PM
Since enrollment began in the new U.S. health care program known as "Obamacare" last week, thousands of uninsured Americans have been signing up for coverage -- even while Congressional opponents have partially shut down the government in a bid to repeal the law. VOA’s Brian Padden reports that this initial success at expanding coverage could end up alienating the vast majority of Americans by significantly raising their healthcare costs.
Brian Padden
Since enrollment began in the new U.S. health care program known as "Obamacare" last week, thousands of uninsured Americans have been signing up for coverage - even while Congressional opponents have partially shut down the government in a bid to repeal the law.  This initial success at expanding coverage could end up alienating the vast majority of Americans by significantly raising their healthcare costs.

The Affordable Care Act - popularly known as "Obamacare" - makes it possible now for James Matthews to get coverage through the expanded federal Medicaid program for low income families - even though he has been diagnosed with diabetes.

“I’m excited to know that they can’t use that pre-existing condition as a way to discriminate against me and not provide insurance or to limit my coverage because I do have diabetes,” he said.

And Ny Whitaker, a self-employed single mother, will now receive a federal subsidy so she can purchase private insurance  being offered on newly created health exchanges.

“I think it’s time for us to just take care of our citizens and make sure everyone is insured and we have a level playing field.” she said.

But if Obamacare is successful only in expanding coverage to those in need of health care, the program will likely fail in the long run.

Christopher Condeluci is a former counsel to the Senate Finance Committee that helped develop the Affordable Health Care Act.

“If more people are covered by health insurance and they utilize health care services to a much greater degree than we would have ever expected, that’s going to put inflationary pressure on health care spending and that’s going to increase the cost of health care overall and that’s going to impact everybody,” he said.

That's why the health care law mandates that even young healthy individuals must enroll to share the costs - or pay a fine if they do not already have health insurance.
But Condeluci said because it was now illegal for insurance companies to refuse coverage, many healthy people may just pay the $95 fine, or one percent of their salary whichever was greater, and then joined a plan if they became sick.

“There is a bit of a moral hazard. Somebody goes without health insurance but yet can get it when they get sick.  That results in adverse selection or that results in higher utilization of medical services which raises costs for everybody across the board,” said Condeluci.

Obamacare is based on the successful system developed in the northeastern state of Massachusetts under then-Republican Governor Mitt Romney.  But Romneycare, as it's called, can impose greater penalties for non-compliance. 

Condeluci said reforms were needed to make Obamacare economically viable in the long term. But in these politically divisive times, they are unlikely to be enacted.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid