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Happy birthday, healthcare reform

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

March 26, 2011|By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
  • Rep. Steve King (R-Ia.) at a news conference pushing repeal of the year-old federal healthcare legislation.
Rep. Steve King (R-Ia.) at a news conference pushing repeal of the year-old… (Win McNamee/Getty Images )

Tuesday marked the passage of one year since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare reform law that still has Americans arguing: Will reform cure America's medical care woes, or make the system's maladies worse?

The anniversary offered health policy experts an excuse to reflect, yet again, on the past, present and future of healthcare in the U.S.

Among studies released in the last week:  

A report from the Rand Corp., published in March's American Journal of Managed Care, that showed that families with high-deductible health insurance plans spend less on healthcare -- but are also more likely to forego getting preventive care such as cancer screenings and even immunizations.  That could drive costs back up in the future, said Amelia H. Haviland, a Rand statistician and co-author of the paper, in a statement. High-deductible plans are expected to become more popular as the healthcare law goes into effect.

This report from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, which found that consumers devote a larger portion of their spending to healthcare (19.9%) than they do to housing and utility costs (18.8%).  The study's authors reached these figures by looking at "hidden costs" of healthcare that are not usually tallied in counts of healthcare costs -- expenses such as vitamins and supplements, ambulance services, mental health services and some kinds of supervisory care.  Here's one outside take on this study and its strengths and weaknesses.

Results from a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation that suggest that Americans remain confused by healthcare reform -- and divided on its merits. The pollsters found that 42% of Americans support the health law while 46% are opposed.  More than half -- 53% -- said the law confused them.

New charts from Families USA, an advocacy organization that supports the reform effort, show how the Affordable Care Act has already helped people in each of the 50 states. The group reported that already, 3.4 million previously uninsured young adults under 26 are now eligible to stay on their parents' insurance; that 5 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied insurance coverage; and that more Medicare recipients will get breaks on drug costs and better access to preventive services.

A breakout of benefits of the federal reform bill to Californians from the California Budget Project.

Related:

Booster Shots reports on evidence that Massachusetts' healthcare law, upon which the federal law was based, has not reduced medical bankruptcies.

Los Angeles Times coverage of where the Affordable Care Act stands with the American people after one year.

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