mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
ACA Agonistes
ACA's Narrow Networks Have Arrived

Those who believe Obamacare is finally gaining traction are probably feeling vindicated this week, as the Congressional Budget Office now says the ACA could be more than $100 billion cheaper than initially expected. As the NYT explains, premiums for ACA plans will be lower than the CBO thought, so the government subsidies provided to help people pay their premiums will also go down. The CBO report lists one key reason why premiums are expected to be lower than originally predicted:

A crucial factor in the current revision was an analysis of the characteristics of plans offered through the exchanges in 2014. Previously, CBO and JCT had expected that those plans’ characteristics would closely resemble the characteristics of employment-based plans throughout the projection period. However, the plans being offered through the exchanges this year appear to have, in general, lower payment rates for providers, narrower networks of providers, and tighter management of their subscribers’ use of health care than employment-based plans do.

You can’t escape tradeoffs. If the new outlook is accurate, the savings are mounting as networks are narrowing—something history tell us consumers very much dislike. Moreover, the CBO report says that the narrow networks to come in 2014 may not be sustainable. By 2016 many more people will get insurance through the ACA. Networks will have to open up again, because insurers won’t be able to take on more customers without also increasing the number of providers available to serve those customers. This will lead back to higher premiums. We see here, as we’ve seen time and time again, that partial information and temporarily hidden tradeoffs are helping to keep the ACA’s beleaguered PR campaign afloat.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Boritz

    “…the savings are mounting as networks are narrowing…”

    What is the per capita expenditure for premiums/healthcare in Haiti? There are advanced models for cost containment if that is the goal.

  • qet

    Given not only the history, but the recent history, of high variability in reported policy measurements, not only measurements by private firms but by the government also, I really don’t see how anything other than utter Pyrrhonism concerning the effects and results of the ACA is intellectually honest. Forget the varying cost estimates: determining total enrollments is just simple counting, and even that cannot be accomplished reliably!

  • Charles Hurst

    So here we are and Obamacare turned out exactly like us right wing nutcases predicted it would. Let’s summarize the lies and disaster of the rollout.

    People massively lost their insurance. Huge amounts of people in every
    state were told that they could keep their plan when in fact they couldn’t. And
    let’s see what the Progressive’s answer to this lie is: “Not uh.” Brilliant

    Premiums have gone up for anyone with a decent job. Huge increases. And
    forecasted next year to go up even more to pay for the less successful or those
    who don’t work at all. Pelosi’s answer? “Not uh.”

    How’s that website enrollment? Smooth as the U.S. Post office, Barry?
    Actually the Post Office is going bankrupt and your enrollment protocols have
    been a disaster. Your answer? “Not uh.”

    ACA. Completely unable to sustain itself. Youth doesn’t think you’re nearly as cool, Barry, once they realize they have to pay more so someone else pays less. Again let me hear your response?

    “Not uh.”

    ACA may very well end our economy as my fiction predicts if someone doesn’t admit
    out loud that the emperor has no clothes. Then again, maybe that was Barry’s
    intent in the beginning.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service