Predictions that Obamacare would lead to substantially higher costs for employers have not materialized three years after the U.S. health care overhaul became law. In an October 16, 2014 Bloomberg News article, health economist Katherine Baicker of Harvard School of Public Health noted that national spending on health care has slowed, which may be partly attributable to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“It’s possible a more general effect arises from health-care providers, insurers, groups aiming to slow health-care spending on their own in advance of any provisions binding from the law,” said Baicker, professor of health economics and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. Insurance premium increases, for instance, have averaged less than 5% per year since 2010, when the health law went into effect. “To the extent that health care can be provided more efficiently, that’s a good thing for everyone, employers and employees,” Baicker said.
Also, in an October 15, 2014 interview on NPR’s Marketplace, Baicker commented on the fact that almost two million more people—baby boomers, many struggling with obesity—are expected to enroll in Medicare this year. “They’re likely to cost more than their parents did but not just because of living longer lives,” Baicker said. “But also because of having more complicated health conditions.”
Baicker was recently elected chair of the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission.
Read the Bloomberg News article: Obamacare Refutes Warning of Corporate America Cost Surge
Listen to NPR’s Marketplace story: Medicare open enrollment brings change
ACA’s impact on jobs ignites debate (HSPH news)
The ACA and jobs (HSPH podcast)