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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid