The Affordable Care Act, the national health care law passed by Congress, marks its one year anniversary Wednesday.
In conjunction with the anniversary, Families USA, a nonpartisan national health care advocacy organization, released state-by-state data on the potential impact of the law. Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said a year to consider the legislation hasn’t necessarily answered all the public’s questions.
“There is abundant confusion about what’s in this legislation to begin with, and there’s probably a greater confusion about what’s available right now,” said Pollack.
According to the Families USA data, nearly a million Hoosiers enrolled in Medicare can receive preventative health measures – like mammograms, colonoscopies and flu shots – for free. Pollack said there’s no way to know how many of those people are actually using those services now. He also said the Congressional Budget Office found that if people take advantage of the health care bill, the country would actually save money.
“The overall costs applicable to the entire Affordable Care Act actually results in a reduction in the deficit,” he said.
But state health care reform consultant Seema Verma said the cost to Hoosiers will primarily be in Medicaid expansion.
“Anywhere between 350 thousand to an additional half a million people could come on to our Medicaid program,” Verma said. “That’s one in four Hoosiers.”
While the federal government pays for the expansion in its first three years – beginning in 2014 – Verma said the state then takes on ten percent of the cost, which estimates put between two point six and three point one billion dollars over ten years. Verma said Indiana has not yet explored ways to pay that additional cost.