President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in to law in March 2010 after a year of intense national debate. On Thursday last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld law, ruling that the individual mandate, which requires U.S. citizens and legal residents to have qualifying health coverage or pay a penalty, is constitutional as a tax. The ruling will have a far-reaching impact on healthcare providers, especially for those who work with underserved populations.
With all the recent discussion and debate by the presidential candidates regarding healthcare issues, I thought a study published last month in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians was quite timely. The study, titled Association of Insurance with Cancer Care Utilization and Outcomes, presents evidence that lack of adequate health insurance coverage is associated with reduced access to care and poorer outcomes for cancer patients . The article further presents data on the association between health insurance status and screening, stage at diagnosis and survival for breast and colorectal cancer.
$60 billion dollars in new deficit spending.
That’s the amount the Heritage Foundation, a public policy research institute based in Washington D.C., estimates the Senate bill to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will have added to the U.S. budget deficit over the next decade [1-2]. Under the bill, funding will drop sharply in 2013 (see the graph below). Assuming a 6% annual spending increase will be required to maintain current enrollment from 2012-2017, the program will require $84.3 billion rather than the $25.6 billion included in the bill.
The House bill has an even greater cost. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the U.S. House of of Representatives SCHIP bill would add $72.9 billion dollars to the U.S. budget deficit for the 2008-2017 period .