Administration: Health law brings down hospitals' uncompensated care costs

As part of a report released Wednesday, Obama administration officials cited evidence that hospitals are projected to save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs as previously uninsured patients gain coverage through the health law. The savings are most significant in states that expanded their Medicaid programs.

The New York Times: Affordable Care Act Reduces Costs For Hospitals, Report Says
The Obama administration increased the pressure on states to expand Medicaid on Wednesday, citing new evidence that hospitals reap financial benefits and gain more paying customers when states broaden eligibility. In states that have expanded Medicaid, the White House said, hospitals are seeing substantial reductions in "uncompensated care" as more patients have Medicaid coverage and fewer are uninsured (Pear, 9/24).

Kaiser Health News: Administration Says Hospitals Will Save $5.7B From Unpaid Bills Due To Health Law
Hospitals are projected to save $5.7 billion this year as previously uninsured patients gain coverage through the 2010 health care law, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. States that have expanded their Medicaid programs will see about 74 percent of those savings, an HHS report said. While 27 states and Washington, D.C. have expanded the federal-state insurance program for the poor to date, the survey was done when 25 states and D.C. had done so (Carey, 9/24). 

The Washington Post's Wonkblog: HHS: Obamacare Coverage Is Reducing Hospitals' Unpaid Bill
Millions more people with health insurance means fewer uninsured patients are coming through hospitals' doors. That means fewer costs from bad debt or charity care from people unable to pay their bills, which amounted to about $50 billion for the nation's hospitals in 2012 (Millman, 9/24).

The Associated Press: Report: Admission Of Uninsured At Hospitals Dips
The announcement of the findings is part of the Obama administration's continuing effort to persuade states that have declined to expand their Medicaid coverage to reconsider their objections. So far, 27 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to provide Medicaid to people with income higher than poverty levels, as permitted under the health care law. What's more, the report comes seven weeks before the start of a new round of open enrollment, a critical test for the health care law. Obama administration officials said both the Medicaid expansion and the law's requirement that individuals obtain insurance had contributed significantly to the decrease in the number of uninsured Americans (9/24).

USA Today: HHS: Health Law Will Lead To Big Drop In Free Hospital Care
Burwell's announcement was paired with one by Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, about the reductions in health care spending increases that the administration says are attributable to the health law. The three years after the ACA took effect in 2010 had the slowest growth in real per capita national health spending on record, Furman said. Furman called the ACA "one of most important developments in the economy in recent years," and one that has major implications for job growth. The slower growth in premiums for employer coverage will make it easier for companies to hire workers and pay good salaries, he said (Jayne O'Donnell, 9/24).

Reuters: Obamacare To Save U.S. Hospitals $5.7B In Uncompensated Care
The report is the latest in a series of administration releases intended to show that President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law is working. Wednesday's announcement came weeks before the November mid-term elections, in which Republicans hope voter dislike for the Affordable Care Act will aid their efforts to win control of the U.S. Senate. Reducing the cost of "uncompensated care" among hospitals, particularly those with large populations of poor people, is a major goal of Obamacare, which offers federally subsidized private insurance to consumers in addition to expanding Medicaid (Morgan and Rampton, 9/24).

Politico Pro: Report: Hospitals To Save $5.7B In Uncompensated Care
Obamacare will save hospitals $5.7 billion this year in uncompensated care costs, with three-quarters of that going to facilities in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, according to an HHS report released Wednesday. ... In states that did not expand Medicaid, savings will total $1.5 billion (Wheaton, 9/24).

CNN: Some Hospital Costs Fall In Affordable Care Act's First Year, Report Finds
Days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the rollout of, the Affordable Care Act's health care exchange website that was originally plagued with numerous technical glitches, the Department of Health and Human Services has released a report highlighting the impact of the law on hospital costs (Hartfield, 9/24).

Dallas Morning News: White House Says Texas Forgoes Huge Sum By Not Expanding Medicaid
Texas taxpayers and hospitals pay a steep price for the state's refusal to expand Medicaid, top White House officials said Wednesday, citing fresh cost projections for treating the uninsured. Hospitals nationwide will see uncompensated care drop $5.7 billion this year, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report. Three-fourths of that savings will go to the states that expanded Medicaid (Gilman, 9/24).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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