Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You know, Obamacare may slow the growth of health care spending after all

I've been highly skeptical (along with quite a few experts) that Obamacare will slow health care spending.

It's counterintuitive, after all, providing health insurance to a bunch of people and then see spending on health care drop.

However, I was under the impression that the new health insurance policies would actually be better.  That's what Democrats have been telling us, anyway.  It's now looking like Obamacare sets up strong pressure within the insurance industry to get patients to pay a larger share of their health care costs out-of-pocket, via higher copays and higher coinsurance rates.  The "better" in our better insurance comes largely from lower maximum out-of-pocket spending by the insured.  People who exceed that maximum are a rarity, relatively speaking.

This means that for many routine medical problems Obamacare partially addresses the third-party payment problem.  The third-party payment problem, briefly, simply means that people use more of something if somebody else pays for it.

I don't think this is the outcome Democrat legislators had in mind when they passed the law.  If it was, then it's likely I'd have heard somebody describe it this way.

Correction 2/25/2014:  Not sure how I ended up spelling "Ocamacare" in the title and then overlooked it for so long, but it's finally fixed.

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