The only alternatives that would have covered more Americans at a lower cost to the federal government were all politically untenable – substantially higher penalties for those who don't comply with mandates, lower government subsidies and less-generous Medicaid expansion, according to research published in the June edition of the journal Health Affairs.
"Of all the proposals on the table that would expand health insurance to more Americans, the final health reform law included those that covered the largest number of people at the lowest cost to the federal government," said Elizabeth A. McGlynn, the study's lead author and a senior researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
The RAND analysis estimates that 28 million Americans will be newly insured by 2016 under the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law builds on the existing structure of health insurance in the United States, which is a combination of private and public sources of coverage.
The study examined how the expected outcome of health care reform would have changed if components of the law were structured differently. For example, would more people receive coverage if companies with fewer employees were required to provide health insurance to workers or pay a penalty? And how might the cost to the federal government change if the income level for Medicaid eligibility was raised to a higher level?
Researchers simulated more than 2,000 different policy scenarios using the RAND COMPARE microsimulation model, which was designed by RAND to provide independent analysis about how different reform proposals would impact the American health care system.
The analysis found that only a few policy scenarios would produce better results than expected under the new health reform law and those scenarios represent only small improvements over what will be expected by 2016.
For example, the RAND analysis found that an additional 4 million people would be insured with no additional cost to the federal government if the penalty for individuals who fail to purchase health insurance increased to $1,200 annually per person (from $750 in the law).
The analysis also showed that a combination of strategies could cut federal spending by $20 billion annually without decreasing the number of newly insured. But this would require a combination of measures that would place a higher financial burden on the lowest-income segment of the nation's population.
"These alternative strategies strike us as politically challenging, if not untenable," McGlynn said. "On balance, the new law appears to have landed on a distinctive plain of the policy frontier where the costs and coverage levels achieved were reasonable enough to secure passage of the law."
Other authors of the study are Amado Cordova, Jeffrey Wasserman and Federico Girosi.
RAND developed COMPARE to provide objective facts and analysis to inform the dialogue about health policy options. COMPARE is funded by a consortium of individuals, corporations, corporate foundations, private foundations and health system stakeholders.
RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on quality, costs and health services delivery, among other topics.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. To sign up for RAND e-mail alerts: http://www.rand.org/publications/email.html
Warren Robak | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Earth Sciences
21.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences