The smart folks at RAND — an actual real-life think tank, as opposed to an ideological group masquerading under the think-tank name — have taken a look at what’s likely to happen to health insurance coverage as a result of the health-care reform package signed into law earlier this year.
Among other things, the RAND study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that work-based insurance will grow in importance under the reform, a prediction that “is very robust to variations in modeling assumptions.”
In other words, they’re pretty damn sure about it.
“Although the model allows employers to drop coverage in response to the reform, we estimate that the law will result in a large net increase in employer-sponsored insurance offers. We predict that the number of workers offered coverage will increase from 115.1 million (84.6% of the approximately 136.0 million U.S. workers) to 128.7 million (94.6%) after the reform. This increase is not driven by penalties levied on employers with more than 50 workers. In fact, the probability of being offered coverage increases proportionately more for workers at small firms than for workers at large firms, even though small firms are not subject to penalties….
The large increase in offers provided by small businesses is driven primarily by two factors: greater demand for coverage by workers due to individual penalties for being uninsured and the availability of new, often lower-cost insurance options (because of administrative savings, for example) for small businesses that offer coverage on the exchanges.”
The folks at RAND further believe that insurance plans offered through exchanges set up under the law will be particularly appealing to business, “owing to wider risk pooling, low administrative costs, and expanded choices.” In fact, the study predicts, “firms making decisions on the basis of costs and benefits of their insurance options, including new subsidies and penalties, will frequently choose to offer insurance rather than to drop coverage and allow their workers to buy individual coverage.”
Of course, that’s not quite the health-care Armageddon that political opponents of the proposal have predicted. But hey, why listen to research conducted by non-partisan, highly trained experts in health care analysis when you can believe people such as John Boehner instead?