November 5, 2011 in City

Report: Health law to cut cost of care

By The Spokesman-Review

Many middle-class Washington families will save an average of about $1,700 a year once federal health reforms take full effect, according to an organization that advocates for health care consumers.

Families USA calculates that changes from the Affordable Care Act will curb insurance rate hikes. In its report released Thursday, the organization said its findings were designed as a counterpoint to Republican presidential candidates’ push to repeal the law.

It outlines savings that will come from tax credits and limits to out-of-pocket expenses.

Here are some of the health care savings outlined in the report:

• Washington households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 will save about $920.

• Households with income of $30,000 to $50,000 will save $1,523.

• Households with income less than $30,000 will save $2,543.

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, called the study the first analysis of its kind that details the benefits to Washington families at a time when budget cuts are threatening health care programs and unemployment remains high.

“We clearly have a crisis in our state in terms of access and affordability,” McDermott said.

While poorer families with lower incomes stand to benefit, so do people with high incomes, he said.

Requiring people to have health insurance, he said, will stop the practice of shifting higher medical costs to people with insurance to make up for the losses of treating people who can’t pay their medical bills.

The individual mandate has been challenged as unconstitutional by attorneys general in many states, including Washington.

Families USA anticipates that within eight years – after reforms are implemented – more than 23 million uninsured people will have become insured.

The full report can be found online at

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