Health exchange rollout expected today | Arkansas Blog

Monday, September 23, 2013

Health exchange rollout expected today

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 6:53 AM

David Ramsey will be working later today on the expected release of insurance costs on the new health exchanges under the expansion of coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act.

Count on this: Whatever the specifics, a fearsome howl will arise from the implacable Republican opposition. The Arkansas situation is interesting, of course, because better than half the Arkansas GOP legislative delegation voted for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, But a rearguard is still fighting against implementation, including spending money to get the word out to people who qualify.

There will be legitimate concerns and glitches. They are inevitable in an undertaking this large.

For example, from today's NY Times:

Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.

...When insurance marketplaces open on Oct. 1, most of those shopping for coverage will be low- and moderate-income people for whom price is paramount. To hold down costs, insurers say, they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.

Tight control of a network for lower costs. Doctors taking lower payments from a greatly expanded pool of patients? From where I sit, this seems a reasonable compromise. For a patient forced to find an out-of-network, expensive treatment, maybe not. I am sure no health care provider wants a cut in reimbursements. The doctors are barely getting by, Republican Sen. Missy Irvin, wife of one, seems to suggest.

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