Subject: General Questions    / General General Questions    

Question
The United States continues to have challenges with their healthcare. As you pick up the ringing "red
phone" to the U.S. president, you have a feeling the president is calling to ask for more healthcare
advice.
The president relates that in the U.S. healthcare system, hospitals account for the largest amount of
healthcare expenditures. The president sends you resources to better understand the issue (please
review the file, "Hospital finance," the article, "The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Large EmployersA Retrospective," and the link to a recent study on hospital administrative costs). In reviewing these
materials, you remember that the concept of "margin" refers to the difference between costs paid out by
the hospital and revenue received as payment for those costs, and that "payment-to-cost" ratio is the
margin expressed as a percent. A positive percent means that payments were greater than costs and a
negative percent means that the costs exceeded payment.
With the president on hold, you review all the documents. When you get back on the phone, the
president asks your advice on the following questions:
You reply to THREE of the questions.
– What's the big deal about hospital administrative costs and what, if anything, should be done about
them? (As you answer this question, it's important to remember that the hospital's administrative costs
cover the salaries of healthcare administrators).
– Who is newly covered and how is this achieved?
– What are exchanges and how are different States approaching them?
– What does the Medicaid program have to do with the ACA? How will health insurance premiums be
affected?
– What variables are in play in the political debate over the impact of the ACA on cost, access, and quality
of care?
– What are some of the key implementation challenges facing state and national policy makers?
– On balance, is the ACA a good or bad law? Provide a clear, fact-based, non-emotional justification for
your conclusion (you don't want to offend the U.S. president and possibly ruin ties between the U.S. and
Elbonia).
Please use this discussion area to provide your comments to the U.S. president.