Sunday, July 1, 2012

How 'Obamacare' Saves Money for All Americans

The following was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her opinion on last week's Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare):
"Unlike markets for most products, the inability to pay for care does not mean that an uninsured individual will receive no care. Federal and state law, as well as professional obligations and embedded social norms, require hospitals and physicians to provide care when it is most needed, regardless of the patient's ability to pay. As a consequence, medical-care providers deliver significant amounts of care to the uninsured for which the providers receive no payment.

Health-care providers do not absorb these bad debts. Instead, they raise their prices, passing along the cost of uncompensated care to those who do pay. In response, private insurers increase their premiums, shifting the cost onto those who carry insurance. The net result: Those with health insurance subsidize the medical care of those without it.

The size of this subsidy is considerable. Congress found that the cost-shifting just described "increases family [insurance] premiums by on average over $1,000 a year." Higher premiums, in turn, render health insurance less affordable, forcing more people to go without insurance and leading to further cost-shifting. Congress therefore passed the individual mandate provision of the ACA to address an economic and social problem that has plagued the nation for decades."
These are the facts that the Republicans blissfully ignore when complaining about the cost of the Affordable Care Act. They also ignore the fact that according to the non-partisan General Accounting Office (GAO) 'Obamacare' reduced the deficit by $300 billion, so a repeal would mean higher deficits and more debts. I guess that only matter to Republicans when cutting programs that help the middle class and the poor.

A huge tip of the hat to Democratic NC House candidate Watt Jones for providing the quote.