Study: Health care reform provides coverage to more for relatively low cost

By Gary Linnell

ProWEB Wire (Industry News)

The recently enacted federal health care reform law provides health insurance coverage to the largest number of Americans while maintaining reasonably low federal costs, according to a new analysis from the non-profit research organization RAND Corporation.

The study found the only alternatives that would have covered more Americans at a lower cost to the government were politically unsustainable. Such alternatives include substantially higher penalties for those who don't comply with mandates, lower government subsidies and less generous Medicaid expansion.

According to Elizabeth A. McGlynn, the study's leading author and a senior researcher at RAND, "Of all the proposals on the table that would expand health insurance to more Americans, the final health reform law included those that covered the largest number of people at the lowest cost to the federal government."

The study examined ways the expected outcome of health care reform would have changed if the law were structured differently. Researchers simulated more than 2,000 different policy scenarios, and found that only a few policy scenarios would produce slightly better results than expected under the current reform law.

"These alternative strategies strike us as politically challenging, if not untenable. On balance, the new law appears to have landed on a distinctive plain of the policy frontier where the costs and coverage levels achieved were reasonable enough to secure passage of the law," McGlynn said.