A QUESTION FOR ACA IMPLEMENTATION GURUS...
I understand that CMS has absolutely no desire to encourage more cream-skimming, and every desire and internal incentive to make sure that those who treat more difficult patient populations are not financially penalized by doing so.
I understand that as a country we are spending twice as much as western European countries while lagging 2 years behind them in life expectancy and 20% behind them in treatment coverage. I understand that the hope is that it will be cheaper and quicker to treat your 32 million new Medicaid and exchange-based insured now that they are showing up regularly with insurance rather than showing up in severe crisis only.
But Massachusetts has been walking down this exchange-and-public-program-expansion road for six years now, since Mitt Romney signed RomneyCare. Massachusetts has been vacuuming up doctors and nurses from Costa Rica and elsewhere and still has been finding that the cost of treating your state population is higher when 97% are insured than it was when 88% were insured. And there aren't enough loose doctors and nurses in the rest of the world for the ACA to vacuum up enough of them to meet the needs of not 1 state but 50 states.
The investments in medical infrastructure and workforce--less than $30 billion for 32 million newly insured, less than $1000 for newly insured--seem an order of magnitude low.
What is your guess as to what will happen if the ACA works for access, works for quality, works for coverage--but the extra health-care workforce needed isn't there, and the lines start to get longer?