What is Happening to Health Care in America? Take 2

A few months ago I asked: What is happening to health care in America? My answer was that no one really knows. Since then, events have reinforced this conclusion.

(1) The health care "law" is a moving target. President Obama unilaterally delayed the ACA's employer mandate by a year. His administration also delayed by one year the law's limits on patients' out-of-pocket costs. Now, to quell uproar among Congressional members and their staff, the Office of Personnel Management is planning to give extra money to those higher-income government employees set to lose their subsidized health coverage as they shift from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to coverage under Obamacare. These employees currently have generous coverage but, absent this revision, won't qualify for subsidies under the ACA. Without these subsidies they warn of a "brain drain." Will this stand? We don't know.

(2) You will note that it is the Democrats who are complaining the loudest to Obama about losing their subsidized health insurance. These are the very same Democrats who voted for the health care law just a few years ago. Now, if there was any doubt, it's clear that the lawmakers who voted on Obamacare had not read or had not understood what they were voting on.

(3) Obamacare's affects may vary widely between one person and another and between one company and another. For instance, a pharmaceutical company that markets hypertension or cholesterol drugs might see a different outcome from a pharmaceutical company developing and selling medicines for multiple sclerosis. The former therapeutic areas have room for higher patient treatment rates while most MS patients are already being treated. Anyone who says they understand how this will play out must first understand it from all such sides. There is no one answer.

(4) The 906 pages of the Affordable Care Act are being converted into tens of thousands of pages of "real" laws by the government regulators who are responsible for implementing the law. Who really knows what these regulators will come up with? I don't. They may not either.

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by Paul Howard, Yevgeniy Feyman, March 2013

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