Saturday, March 24, 2012

Obamacare: Two Laws in One

More learning about the Affordable Care Act, more affectionately known as Obamacare. If you choose to read the whole story, you'll understand why it's difficult to convey the benefits, which has made it easier for republicans to use the psychology of fear so that no one understands anything.
Already, 49 states are implementing Obamacare. Arizona is the only state that's not doing anything. Many of the states are challenging the law in next week's SCOTUS hearings.
The Affordable Care Act is mostly known for its mandate to expand health insurance to 30 million more Americans within a decade. That’s the side of the legislation Democrats touted last week, when the law hit its two-year anniversary. It’s also the point that has roused the most ire from opponents. Insurance expansion is at the heart of legal challenges the Supreme Court will take up on Monday, which argue that forcing people to buy insurance coverage is unconstitutional.

But much of the law’s 905 pages are dedicated to an effort that’s arguably more ambitious: an overhaul of America’s business model for medicine. It includes 45 changes to how doctors deliver health care — and how patients pay for it. These reforms, if successful, will move the country’s health system away from one that pays for volume and toward one that pays for value. The White House wants to see providers behave more like Baptist Health Systems, rewarding health care that is both less costly and more effective.

The health-care industry was moving toward value-based payments even before health reform passed. But the Affordable Care Act has played an important role, economists say, by signalling that America’s biggest health-care spender — the federal government — is also headed in that direction.

“The Affordable Care Act is like two laws in one,” former Medicare administrator Don Berwick said. “There’s the coverage piece, and I think that’s proceeding well. On the other side, there’s health-care delivery reform.” Read more at WaPo