Niagara Gazette —
What seems to be upsetting some voters is what is called the "individual mandate," which requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty. However, the crux of the mandate is that its better for everybody if everybody has insurance, according to Ingalls of BlueCross/BlueSheild. "If we get everybody covered there's a good balance of younger people and older people and that helps keep premiums more affordable."
Ruffolo, whose hospital is sponsoring a panel discussion on health care reform Nov. 14 (see box) was asked whether he thought "Obamacare" was good or bad. "It all depends on who you are," he said. Hospitals are already being tested by the Medicare Reform Act which rewards hospitals for patient satisfaction and clinical quality and penalizes hospitals with less reimbursement when there are higher than expected readmission rates. "Obamacare" also reduces the amount it will reimburse hospitals for treatment to unisured, he said.
"I think our hospital is going to be negatively impacted by lower medicare payments, further than what we will recoup with more people getting insurance," Ruffolo said.
"But, we have to adapt to the change," he added. "It is what it is."
Also impacted will be small businesses, who in 2014 will have to provide health insurance for all their employees. One expert speculated that such laws would force business to keep their employee numbers low to avoid penalities inflicted upon larger employers.
"The smaller of a company you are, the higher percentage of tax subsidy or tax credit you'll receive," said Don Ingalls, vice president for state and federal relations at BlueCross/BlueShield.
Experts interviewed seem to agree that state-based "health care exchanges," where customers can pick and choose their plans, will make health care industry much more competitive, resulting in better packages for the consumer.