Healthcare Daily Digest for 21 February 2013: The Upside of the Downside of the Affordable Care Act

Nicole Fisher, a contributor on Forbes.com, argues that, due to the Affordable Care Act, “many companies [will] drop health care coverage for their employees.” And that’s certainly an threat we’ve heard from many employers, almost as a threat: if you force me to take care of my employees, I’ll be forced to [lay off/shorten hours/double my prices].

Fisher, though, takes a different track: “Moving away from our employer system may actually have positive implications for the health care system and individuals.”

How? Well, Fisher thinks we’ll see improved benefits in three areas: cost, transparency, and portability.

Fisher gives some history that led her to her opinion: “The individual market for health care insurance is historically underdeveloped compared to the employer-sponsored market due to high costs, individual underwriting, and the ability of insurers to deny applicants based on pre-existing conditions. This system began as a result of wage caps during World War II, and then expanded when preferential tax treatment for employer plans was codified into law. The dominance of employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) was solidified in an era of single income households where the breadwinner rarely changed jobs.”

The ACA, though, will significantly disrupt that particular narrative, leading to the potential “positive implications” she mentioned. Read her entire piece at Forbes.com to see if you agree.

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Thursday’s headlines, picked just for you:

  • Complementary to Today’s Top Digest Story: What is the future of free-market healthcare? Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy figure that out over on Reuter’s blog-space.
  • Healthcare in the Stock Market: “Health-care stocks have been going through a long convalescence in the last few months,” reports this piece titles 5 Health-Care Stocks Triggering ‘Buys’ This Week. If you get rich, remember your good friend Mike Bevel who told you about this story that told you about these stocks.

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