Facts: The program will pay less than presently to existing doctors and hospitals to add up to 40 million previously uninsured. Patients will pay more, plus increased sales, excise and income taxes on the poor, middle and wealthy citizens. Medicares’ Advantage coverage is diminished and Medicare and Medicaid will pay less to providers and hospitals. Obamacare will provide less care to more people at a higher price to patients, particularly in the case of seniors.
Opinion: As Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and Federal healthcare benefits generally are in severe deficit before Obamacare is added, there is no choice but to reduce care and/or increase taxes. The political questions of who will pay and who will benefit are the only realistic variables in the mix; the economics are the same for either political party. It seems likely that Obamacare, operated by an enormous new bureaucracy, will set new records in government inefficiency, waste and fraud while driving costs upward faster than inflation, as that is the record of similar arrangements. It seems reasonably likely too, that some hospitals will close. Increased numbers of people will receive subsidized care until the government runs out of money, as is starting to happen elsewhere. The ‘good news’ of covering the previously uninsured and subsidizing low income folk will help obscure the ‘bad news’ of reduced payments for care.
The law advances government control of both individuals and the economy to an intrusive degree that was not necessary and ‘solves’ the mess the government has made of American healthcare by increasing the actions that produced the problems it is addressing. The current Republicans will not repeal it though if they are able, they will tinker with it. As it is financially unsustainable, the Democrats will also tinker with it and the two may find room for compromise in doing so. In the meantime, we will all pay more for less healthcare because the politicians have promised more than government can deliver.