What Is at Stake for the ACA?

January 9, 2015
Gale Scott

The Affordable Care Act: What's at stake here? The hope of the ACA's suppoprters was and is that it will mean the end of Americans going without health care or being bankrupted by medical bills. But critics say that in its current form, the new law is falling far short of that goal.

(Click the play button on the audio player above to listen to this segment of the ACA panel discussion)

This HCPLive audio panel discussion features:

  • Joel Zinberg MD, JD, Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
  • David Sandman PhD, Senior Vice President of the New York State Health Foundation
  • Patrick Cronin, New Jersey organizing director for “Get Covered America” a nonprofit with a federal contract to help people sign up for coverage
  • Tom Wilson (moderator), a partner at Kaufman Zita Group and former chairman of the NJ Republican State Committee

The panelists look at how well the ACA is working and discuss whether it is politically vulnerable.

The ACA’s health insurance exchanges opened for business Oct. 1 2013. What has that meant to new enrollees, to the physicians who care for them, and the nation’s health care system?

To Cronin, who has a boots-on-the-ground perspective, “The law is definitely working—we’ve signed up 430,000 people just from May to September this year.”

Sandman agrees the ACA has been effective, saying, “Insurance matters, it’s the ticket into the American health care system and if you don’t have it you are shut out."

But Zinberg says physicians have a different take: a lot of these newly insured patients are getting Medicaid, a program he says does not pay doctors adequately, meaning that patients may have trouble finding care and end up back in the emergency room when they get sick.

“Most physicians do not want to accept Medicaid,” Zinberg says. And out-of-network care is “virtually non-existent” in the plans, so patients are likely to have to choose new doctors, Zinberg adds.

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