Darn you, Obama! ACA cuts hospital costs by $5.7 billion this year!
The Washington Post's Jason Millman reports:
The Obama administration is projecting that hospitals will face $5.7 billion less in uncompensated care costs than they otherwise would have in the first full year of the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion.
Millions more people with health insurance means fewer uninsured patients are coming through hospitals' doors. That means fewer costs from bad debt or charity care from people unable to pay their bills, which amounted to about $50 billion for the nation's hospitals in 2012.
OK, so obviously the hospitals are thrilled about this, but what about the rest of us? Well, in theory, those savings should be in turn passed along in the form of lower premiums/co-pays/etc. (or at least a slower rate of increase, anyway):
Five years ago, when advocates were still trying to build support for the bill that became the ACA, they saw the potential for reducing the costs of uncompensated care as a big selling point. That's because those costs were already getting passed along to the tabs of people who could pay. This "hidden tax" amounted to about $1,000 for family coverage, according to a 2009 analysis from Families USA.
Of course, whether the rest of us will actually see this "$1,000/year per family" savings is difficult to tell...but so far this seems to be yet another anti-ACA talking point (hospital costs will skyrocket!!) being shot down.