This has been illustrated locally, by the Granite School District's decision to duck an expected $14 million jump in costs by reducing the hours of hundreds of part-time workers. That way, the district, and its taxpayers, can avoid the ACA mandate that employees who work 30 or more hours a week have to be included in an employer's health care plan.
And it has been illustrated nationally, by a study that estimates health care insurance claims that are paid may jump by as much as 32 percent per capita as millions more Americans enter that system. Of course, a law that requires health insurance outfits to put actually insuring the health of their customers ahead of their own profits is going to increase the amount of money those companies spend on actual care.
These cost projections, if the ACA works as intended, should be mitigated by other provisions of that act. Health insurance companies should, for example, be limited in how much of the increased cost they can pass along to customers by the provision that at least 80 percent of what an insurance provider spends must be for care, not overhead and profit.
Other factors that could help include increasing access to preventive care now and avoiding more expensive emergency or chronic care later, or moving low-wage workers off their employers' plans and onto subsidized plans or Medicaid.
But this is, or should be, the private health insurance industry's last chance. If Obamacare fails, a return to the cold-hearted free market is not a realistic or humane choice.
An entity with the chops to bargain down the actual cost of care is necessary. At the very least, a robust public option, an idea President Obama bargained away in the creation of the ACA, must be provided. Better still would be a single-payer plan Medicare for all.