An array of conservative political forces challenging President Obama’s Affordable Care Act have pinned their hopes on King v. Burwell, a Supreme Court Case intended to dismantle the ACA. Yet perhaps surprisingly few of the for-profit healthcare companies and trade groups that initially opposed the ACA have thrown their weight behind the complainant’s side.
Stephanie Mencimer reports that the main reason for this sea change is that after the healthcare industry watched “Obamacare” being implemented over the past few years it has increasingly come to recognize the legislation’s benefits to its bottom line.
For healthcare giants such as the Hospital Corporation of America, these have come in the form of reducing unnecessary emergency room care often sought by the uninsured.
The HCA filed a legal brief favoring the Obama administration in King v. Burwell. Those insured through the ACA’s healthcare exchanges, HCA contends, are three times less likely to rely on the ER for care than are the uninsured.
Further, HCA’s data indicates that an individual insured under the ACA is almost twice as likely to pursue outpatient care than visit the ER, suggesting that such patients are taking better care of themselves and receiving less costly care than their uninsured counterparts.
“Thus, at the same time that Exchange patients are relying less on the ER,” HCA states in its brief, “they are receiving more outpatient care than the uninsured, including care (such as chemotherapy) that is typically unavailable in the ER. That care is being provided in more appropriate and cost-effective settings.”
HCA notes that women have benefited substantially from the ACA, with federal exchange patients more than three times as likely as uninsured women to get an ultrasound for a breast lump or abnormal mammogram.
Source: Stephanie Mencimer, “America’s Largest Healtcare Company Tells Supreme Court that Anti-Obamacare Argument is ‘Absurd,’” Mother Jones, February 9, 2015, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/hca-king-burwell-supreme-court-obamacare-amicus-brief.
Student Researcher: Sara Dorviller (Florida Atlantic University)
Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)