Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

ACA driving up health care spending?

That is the conclusion reached by John Holahan and Stacey McMorrow in a RWJ Issue Brief. They claim that “recent reports suggest such growth has returned to a more typical level of approximately 5.6 percent in 2014, considerably faster than increases in gross domestic product (GDP).” Positive excess cost growth–defined as the difference between the […]

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“Affordable” Care Act

Is the Affordable Care Act making health insurance more affordable?  Generally, the answer is yes.  More individuals are insured due to Medicaid coverage expansions in some but not all states and the implementation of health insurance exchanges.  However, there is one worrying trend in affordability: increasing patient cost sharing. A paper by Hempstead et al. (2015), […]

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ACA and narrow networks

One way for insurers to reduce health care costs is to restrict patient access to only lower cost providers.  This phenomenon is known as narrow networks.  On the one hand, narrow networks can promote efficiency by driving down provider price and directing patients to the highest value physicians.  Alternatively, if insurers use narrow networks to direct patients […]

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Covered California and Adverse Selection

The Affordable Care Act requires all individuals to be offered the same premium regardless of health status. Although there are some ratings bands based on age and smoking status, most people who purchase insurance on health insurance exchanges receive the same premium for any given insurance product from any given insurance company. The insurance products […]

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Medicaid Expansion and States’ bottom line

A recent RWJF Issue Brief notes that states that expanded Medicaid received more revenue from the federal government and had less state-level spending on programs that support the uninsured. In examining Medicaid expansion across eight states—Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia—it is clear that states are realizing savings and revenue […]

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How did Obamacare affect Medicaid enrollment?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) contained the provision requiring States to significantly expand Medicaid eligibility. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that states had the option of implementing this provision.  Thus, the change in Medicaid eligibility and subsequent enrollment varied significantly across states based largely on whether or not they were an expansion state.  A recent […]

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Medicaid Expansion States

Which states have decided to receive additional federal funds to expand the share of people they cover under Medicaid?  The Kaiser Family Foundation has the answer. Alabama Not Moving Forward at this Time Alaska  Not Moving Forward at this Time Arizona Implementing the Medicaid Expansion  Arkansas Implementing the Medicaid Expansion California  Implementing the Medicaid Expansion Colorado Implementing the Medicaid Expansion […]

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Will Obamacare Increase the share of Part-Time Workers?

The ACA requires large employers to provide coverage to all full-time workers. However, providing insurance is costly. Will employers avoid this requirement by hiring more part-time workers? An Urban Institute report claims that this is not the case. We find no evidence that the ACA had already started increasing part-time work before 2014. We find […]

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Health Insurance and ER Use

One of the big political selling points of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was that by providing people with health insurance, they can get the primary care they need and avoid expensive ER visits. While the expansion of health insurance never claimed to be cost savings, did the ACA reduce ER visits? A paper by […]

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How do states plan to control Obamacare premiums?

Obamacare mandates that individuals need to buy health insurance or else they will face a financial penalty. This threat, however, is not credible unless there are affordable health insurance options for most Americans. What are states doing to hold down health insurance rates in the ACA’s health insurance exchanges? A RWJF working paper provides some […]

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