Poor, elderly and disabled could benefit if health care law overturned

Who will be hurt the most by the health reform legislation Congress passed last year? The most vulnerable segments of society: the poor, the elderly and the disabled, according to Dr. John Goodman

Goodman's economic analysis of the outcome if the law is implemented:

  • Thirty-two million otherwise uninsured people will try to double their consumption of medical care.
  • Almost everyone with private insurance and all Medicare enrollees will try to increase their consumption of preventive services — promised without deductible or copayment. With no increase in supply, doctors and patients will face a huge rationing problem.
  • There will be up to 900,000 additional emergency room visits and the time price of care (rationing by waiting) will jump substantially at every emergency room, every primary care facility and for most specialty services as well. If everyone in America succeeds in getting all the recommended preventive care, for example, primary care physicians will have to spend more than 7 hours of every working day delivering services to basically healthy people.
  • Patients whose plan pays below-market rates will be pushed to the rear of the waiting lines; this includes our most vulnerable populations — the elderly, the disabled and poor families on Medicaid. In the meantime, a large flourishing market for concierge services is likely to emerge — draining resources from the third-party payer system and making the rationing problem worse for all who are left behind.

"In general, the left is obsessed with distributional issues," says Goodman. "That’s why it’s so surprising that they passed a law that is going to force middle- and upper-middle-income families to have more insurance than they really want. Once they have it and act on it, they will in the process make access more difficult for the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society."

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