New Health Reform Law Most Politically Feasible, Best Option, Study Finds
The new health reform law is the best and most politically feasible option to extend health coverage to the most residents while keeping government costs low, according to a new RAND study published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, the Wall Street Journal's "Health Blog" reports (Hobson, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 6/8).
For the study, researchers analyzed more than 2,000 policy scenarios that modified factors such as:
- Income eligibility for Medicaid;
- Penalties for not complying with insurance mandates; and
- Size of the companies that are required to provide coverage for their workers (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 6/8).
Cost of Alternative Scenarios
The new reform law is expected to extend health coverage to approximately 28 million more U.S. residents by 2016 (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 6/8).
To coverÂ four million more people at the same cost, researchers determined that the penalty for not abiding by the individual insurance mandate would need to be 47% higher, which they conclude would be politically unfeasible ("Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 6/8).
The study also found that the cost of the reform law could be reduced by $20 billion without decreasing the number of newly insured U.S. residents. However, researchers said such reductions would require enacting policies that "place a higher burden on the lowest-income segment of the population," such as less generous subsidies and a smaller expansion of Medicaid (HealthLeaders Media, 6/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.