by Marc Shapiro, HCAO Eugene, for the Register Guard
Published: 12:00 a.m., Dec 31, 2013
The embarrassing enrollment glitches related to the Affordable Care Act and Cover Oregon will become history. The ACA will be fully implemented and will bring substantial benefits for millions of people who previously lacked access to affordable health care. It should reduce the widespread bankruptcies that have resulted from necessary but ruinously expensive medical treatment.
The ACA is no panacea; it mandates health insurance, not health care. The magnitude of the document is large enough that it is safe to say that no one knows its entire contents.
However, we know the primary elements: It will lead to most legal citizens being insured, except for those in states that have refused to expand their Medicaid rolls despite the availability of federal assistance under the ACA. This was foolish on those states’ part. People who would otherwise have been covered will still seek care in hospital emergency rooms at inflated costs that could have been avoided by Medicaid expansion.
Additionally, there is a vast number of people who are not legal residents and will not receive coverage under the ACA. They, too, will report to ERs, the most expensive providers of last resort.