Tags: Leonard | Orgel | healthcare | cost

US News' Leonard Discusses Healthcare Costs

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 07:39 AM

Kimberly Leonard, healthcare correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal March 16 to talk about enrollment under Obamacare and projections for healthcare costs. Prior to taking on the healthcare beat in September 2014 Leonard worked for the Center for Public Integrity.
 
Host Paul Orgel asked simply, "Where are we?" Leonard explained that another open enrollment period has just started and so far 11.7 million Americans have enrolled, but because of the tax penalty the enrollment period has been extended until April 15 to offer an opportunity to avoid the penalty.
 
Orgel asked about a projection by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that healthcare spending will decrease, but Leonard emphasized that the program is "still very expensive, it's still going to cost the country about $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years." However, projections have declined by 11 percent just since January. She added that several factors are responsible.
 
Ironically, one factor is lower enrollment numbers than had been expected. The original projection was for 13 million enrollments. However, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had projected only 9.9 million, so they're touting the results as "a huge success."
 
Another factor cited by CBO for lower cost projections is that CBO has lowered its estimate for the cost of subsidies, from close to $5,200 per person per year, but now they're as low as $3,900, 20 percent lower than projected. The analyses are done several times a year, but are compared with the overall budget in conjunction with the release of the budget early in the year. Leonard noted that the overall deficit is still projected to increase.
 
As for the reduced enrollment numbers, Leonard said these could be interpreted as either positive or negative. Perhaps the improved economy is enabling more people to obtain health insurance through their employers, or perhaps more people are choosing to go without insurance.
 
After a caller praised President Obama for enabling a child with a pre-existing condition to stay on the family healthcare insurance until 26, when he will then be able to obtain insurance at work, Orgel asked about the possible effect of the pending Supreme Court decision in King v Burwell. She responded that the case boils down to whether the government can legally distribute subsidies through healthcare.gov instead of through state-run exchanges, which only exist in 13 states and the District of Columbia. If the current arrangement were ruled illegal, HHS estimates that 7 million people could lose health insurance.
 
When a Democratic caller asked why healthcare in the U.S. costs twice as much as it does in other industrialized countries, Leonard confirmed that costs are higher in the U.S. and that they are continuing to rise. The caller asked further whether Obamacare is not a version of a compromise advanced in 1992 by the conservative Heritage Foundation, later by former Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, whereas liberals prefer that the government act as the "single payer." Leonard confirmed this but pointed out that the Affordable Care Act is not a compromise, because not a single Republican voted for it.
 
(Archived video can be found here.)

© 2017 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
Robert-Feinberg
Kimberly Leonard, healthcare correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal March 16 to talk about enrollment under Obamacare and projections for healthcare costs.
Leonard, Orgel, healthcare, cost
523
2015-39-17
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 07:39 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
MONEYNEWS.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved