The top of this week’s health news have been the debate over funding Obamacare and the Debt Ceiling. There is little doubt that funding the Affordable Care Act will increase the National Debt. Without accomplishing this the Mandate will be an empty one.
As we mentioned previously politics and health care do not mix well, they are immiscible. They are two individual complex entities and mixing the two results in a ‘melt down’. The National Debt has become inextricably bound to health care financing as funding from government sources has increased as a percentage of GDP
National Debt Clock is running. Of course there are other contributing factors which are in the equation as outlined by this Bank of America Analysis/Merrill-Lynch white paper published in February 2013.
The Republicans know this and despite the unpopular act of closing the federal government they have stood fast, believing that the Affordable Care Act would severely impact the short and long term recovery of our economy. In the political scheme of things (which often are irrational) Republicans have much more to lose by alienating more Americans as the enemy of social progress and Democratic proclamation that Republicans are obstructionist bent on defeating Obama’s singular accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.
This week signals the opening round of the Health Benefit Exchanges which will allow consumers to search health plans in their state and to register for them. The most significant portion of consumers are those that are presently uninsured.
News this week clearly shows that less than 50% of the population know anything about Affordable Care Act, and even fewer understand or how to access Health Benefit Exchanges (HBE) This week many kiosks are popping up at shopping malls answering questions and distributing literature about the ACA. I don’t think this is part of the “NAVIGATOR’ program. It is most likely budgeted from the marketing budget announced by HHS. Rumor has it that funds have been limited due to ‘sequestration’.
HBE is one form of Health Information Technology which directly impacts consumers as a necessary focus, unlike mobile health apps. Because January 1, 2014 is the commencement data for eliminating prior illness or increasing rates due to prior conditions, the enrollment period is brief. (however like all government programs lately it will most likely be delayed)