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.