Some analysts, he said, believe that providers are responding to the anticipation of change in the system and are beginning to change their own behavior accordingly. “That means we have more time to get it right, in terms of wholesale change in how healthcare is delivered, and for me, that’s a good thing,” he said.
Explore This IssueJanuary 2014
A few other numbers of note:
The state- and federal-run healthcare exchanges are expected to cost $1.075 trillion through 2023, according to the CBO. That eye-popping number includes spending for “high-risk pools, premium review activities, loans to consumer-operated and -oriented plans, and grants to states for the establishment of exchanges.”
The big question, of course, is whether that investment will pay off, and a big part of the answer will rest with a well-balanced risk pool. In other words, long-term financial stability means getting as many young and healthy people into the exchanges as possible.
The ACA sought to increase competition by supporting the creation of consumer co-ops, despite opposition from the insurance industry. By the end of last year, HHS had doled out roughly $2 billion in loans to nonprofit co-ops in 23 states, as part of its Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP). Backers of these co-ops had initially sought $10 billion, however, based on estimates of what would be required to ensure a higher likelihood of success.
Although preliminary evidence suggests that these newcomers may be helping to drive down costs in some states, a lack of additional funding has prevented other potential co-ops from receiving startup loans. The co-ops also are barred from using any federal money for marketing, cannot jointly negotiate contracts with doctors, and have limited access to the large employer insurance market—casting doubt on their continued viability.
On Sept. 30, 2010, the U.S. comptroller general appointed 15 members to the National Health Care Workforce Commission, an acknowledgment that the country needs more guidance in how to address existing shortages in doctors and other healthcare providers that are expected to widen. The commission, authorized by the ACA, has never met, however. The act didn’t appropriate any money for it, and Congress has yet to approve any funding either, meaning that the commission’s members are legally barred from conducting any work.—BN