Insurance coverage expansions under the healthcare reform law will enable hospitals to improve the quality of care while padding physicians’ bottom lines, the liberal Urban Institute concludes in two new reports.
The study authors, Robert Berenson and Stephen Zuckerman, write that hospitals stand to gain about $40 billion in new revenues by 2019 thanks to the 30 million or so newly insured individuals. After factoring cuts in payments for uncompensated care and other reductions, “most hospitals won’t see much difference to their bottom line” — especially since hospitals fall outside the purview of a new payment advisory panel’s budget cutting jurisdiction until 2019.
As for physicians, the authors write, they will benefit from the coverage expansions and increased Medicaid payments for primary care services in 2013 and 2014.
“The only real way that a physician would be adversely affected by reform,” they write, “would be if a substantial share of a physician’s patients shifted from private coverage to Medicaid.”