Obamacare already saving millions, improving care
By Consumers Union on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
Obamacare doesn’t go into full effect until January, but employers, healthcare providers and individuals are already seeing positive effects. Two recent studies highlight the law’s positive effects on the economy, and Bloomberg reported today on a little-known Obamacare program that is already improving patient care and saving millions.
Under Obamacare, healthcare providers can join an Accountable Care Organization, or ACO, which offers incentives for providers to work together to coordinate treatment, overall improving care and reducing costs. Hundreds of hospitals have signed up for the ACO program so far. Bloomberg reports that experts are seeing a fundamental change in healthcare, calling it a “watershed.” Under the ACO program’s coordinated care model, both patients and healthcare providers benefit from the focus on reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and procedures.
Beginning next year, Obamacare’s “individual mandate” will go into effect. While critics have decried the law’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance, researchers predict positive effects on the economy. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal wrote about a company that plans to add workers to its health insurance plan. The Massachusetts-based company says that better employee retention and customer service will more than offset the initial cost increase.
Others are looking forward to buying individual insurance in the new, shopper-friendly marketplaces under Obamacare. A recent Urban Institute analysis predicts that 1.5 million Americans will become self-employed, describing the law as a boon to entrepreneurship.
With the number of insured Americans expected to spike next year as Obamacare goes into full effect, critics of the law have warned that the demand for healthcare will quickly outpace supply. But a new analysis from the consulting firm Accenture predicts greater access to care. The report says that the number of retail clinics will rise sharply, providing the capacity for an additional 10 million patient visits by 2015.
All together, Obamacare is saving money, improving patient care and boosting the economy — and in just six months the law goes into full effect, and millions will gain insurance coverage.