On one side, you’ve got Michael Bell, a contributor to Forbes.com. He has a piece up about how Obamacare raises healthcare costs. And on the other side: UPI.com, with its story, “Healthcare reform saves consumers millions.
Bell’s piece opens this way: “Obamacare was hailed as not only a great piece of legislation but as a key tool to decrease the ever-rising cost of healthcare in the U.S. Unfortunately, the act almost certainly will have the opposite effect. Obamacare will increase healthcare costs significantly and exacerbate many of the key cost drivers of healthcare.”
His reasoning? Added administrative costs, for one thing. The burden of funneling people who already couldn’t afford insurance into insurance programs is another. Also, he thinks the whole thing may just be a tax on healthy people: “Another assumption made by the architects of Obamacare was that by forcing the insurance companies to offer this insurance to all, the companies would simply raise prices on other forms of health insurance. Thus, the inherently unprofitable policies they were being forced to write would be cross-subsidized by businesses and people who could afford to pay more.”
UPI.com takes a different tack: “About 71 million Americans with private health insurance received at least one free preventive service, such as a mammogram or flu shot, a U.S. official said.” Adding up freebies gets them to that impressive total. “Additionally, an estimated 34 million Americans in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage received at least one preventive service, such as an annual wellness visit at no out-of-pocket cost because of the healthcare law, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said.”
Who’s right? What if they both are? What if there is a cost to Obamacare? Why did we think that the way to market healthcare for everyone was by suggesting we’d get it cheap and at a discount? And it probably is smart accounting to take into account the extras one will get as part of wellness maintenance.
Mostly, we’re still seeing a lot of finger-pointing and not a lot of non-combative answers. We’re not a nation that does “new” well.