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In Massachusetts, 'individual mandate' led to decreased hospital productivity
Date:7/30/2012

Philadelphia, Pa. (July 30, 2012) - As the "individual mandate" of the Affordable Care Act moves forward, debate and speculation continue as to whether universal health insurance coverage will lead to significant cost savings for hospitals. The assumption is that providing appropriate primary care will improve the overall health of the population, resulting in less need for hospital services and less severe illness among hospitalized patients. Findings from a recent study published in Health Care Management Review challenge that assumption. Health Care Management Review is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

The new study reports that mandatory individual insurance coverage in Massachusetts was followed by a significant near-term drop in hospital productivity. The results raise the possibility of similar decrease in U.S. hospital productivity once the individual mandate is implemented as part of national health care reform. "As such, current cost estimates of the Affordable Care Act's impact on overall health spending are potentially understated," write Mark A. Thompson, PhD, of Texas Tech University and colleagues.

Hospital Productivity Drops after Mandatory Insurance

The researchers used economic models to evaluate the effects of mandatory insurance coverage on hospital productivity. The analysis focused on the impact of the universal insurance coverage mandate implemented in Massachusetts in July, 2007.

Data from 2005 to 2008 was used to compare trends in productivity at 51 Massachusetts hospitals, 197 matched hospitals and other 2,916 hospitals across the United States. The analysis first used "propensity
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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