San Diego with Emeritus Professor Victor Tabbush
San Diego alumni gathered in La Jolla while Professor Emeritus Victor Tabbush led the audience through the Affordable Care Act, including the effect on coverage, delivery of treatment and cost. The audience learned that this Act will emphasize managed care with resulting capitation, and accountable care organizations where the patient's medical 'group' will cover all of the needs of the patient. Hospitals will be financially incented to reduce the percentage of preventable 30-day readmissions, a rate currently hovering at 21% for Medicare. Professor Tabbush noted that another key factor in reducing healthcare costs will be the more strategic focus on 'prevention', which currently accounts for only 3% of medical expenditures. Elimination of copayments for prevention such as disease screenings would be included in coverage under the new Act. Professor Tabbush noted that if 32 million people will be getting more healthcare, there will be added demand on healthcare services, driving up aggregate and possibly per-person costs. In fact, costs are projected to rise by $938 billion over the next ten years. Some savings will be realized by hospitals which now will have less uncompensated care. Other savings will come from the managed care model, as well as taxation of what are termed the "Cadillac" insurance policies and taxes on device and pharmaceutical companies. Regardless of the rising costs, Professor Tabbush noted that the decision to move towards the Affordable Care Act should not simply be a question of costs, but of the larger societal issue of providing healthcare to all U.S. citizens.