HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bending the Cost Curve: In which Direction?

Health_costs_USA_GDPThere always have been good reasons to doubt the cost-containing impact of Obamacare. While the Affordable Care Act will do much to ensure access to health care coverage for the uninsured, it will do far less to address the high costs of health care in the United States. Just as with Medicare and Romneycare, Obamacare largely left cost containment for another day. A recent studysuggests that even the limited cost savings expected from the new law may not materialize. Many experts have touted electronic medical records as a way to reduce spending, and proponents frequently cited an estimate of $80 billion in annual savings. However, researchers found that electronic medical records can encourage physicians to order more tests for their patients, resulting in greater spending. As the authors recognized, the jury is still out on the effect of electronic records. Still, the results are consistent with the view that the greatest threat to the health care law lies not in the constitutional challenges but in the law’s design defects.

[DO; cross-posted at Faculty Lounge]

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