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[I can’t get yet] Undocumented Immigrants, Left Out Of Health Reform, Likely To Continue To Grow As Share Of The Uninsured, by Stephen Zuckerman, Timothy A. Waidmann, and Emily Lawton (Health Affairs)

The increase in undocumented immigration between 1999 and 2007 contributed to an increase in the number of uninsured people in the United States. During this period, the number of undocumented immigrants increased from an estimated 8.5 million to 11.8 million, leading to an estimated additional 1.8 million uninsured. These uninsured and undocumented immigrants were estimated to represent 27 percent of the overall increase of 6.9 million uninsured people during this period. Undocumented immigrants accounted for one in seven of the uninsured in 2007, up from one in eight in 1999. These undocumented immigrants will not be eligible for public insurance or any type of private coverage obtained through exchanges under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. As a result, members of this group will eventually constitute a larger percentage of the uninsured population, unless other policy actions are taken to provide for their coverage, or their immigration status is changed.

[I can’t get yet] Health Reform Holds Both Risks And Rewards For Safety-Net Providers And Racially And Ethnically Diverse Patients, by Dennis P. Andrulis and Nadia J. Siddiqui (Health Affairs)

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 creates both opportunities and risks for safety-net providers in caring for low-income, diverse patients. New funding for health centers; support for coordinated, patient-centered care; and expansion of the primary care workforce are some of the opportunities that potentially strengthen the safety net. However, declining payments to safety-net hospitals, existing financial hardships, and shifts in the health care marketplace may intensify competition, thwart the ability to innovate, and endanger the financial viability of safety-net providers. Support of state and local governments, as well as philanthropies, will be crucial to helping safety-net providers transition to the new health care environment and to preventing the unintended erosion of the safety net for racially and ethnically diverse populations.

Forecasting the cost of U.S. Health Care in 2040, by Robert W. Fogel (Journal of Policy Modeling). Ungated working paper version available.

One of the most important debates among health economists in rich nations is whether advances in biotechnology will spare their health care systems from a financial crisis. We must consider that prevalence rates of chronic diseases declined during the twentieth century and that this rate of decline has accelerated. However, health care costs may continue to increase even as the age of onset of chronic diseases is delayed, because the proportion of a cohort living to late ages will increase. The accelerating decline in the prevalence of chronic diseases during the course of the twentieth century supports the proposition that increases in life expectancy during the twenty-first century will be fairly large, but the effect on health care in the U.S. will be modest. The income elasticity for health services is calculated at 1.6, meaning that income expenditures on health care in the U.S. are likely to rise from a current level of about 15 percent to about 29 percent of GDP in 2040.

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