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Obamacare Saves 50,000 Lives and $12 Billion

A little known part of the ACA has saved a significant number of lives and money.

In 1999, several studies came out that showed that a significant cause of death in the US were simple mistakes made by hospitals. Things like giving people the wrong medicines or the wrong dosage. Or from people getting preventable infections while in hospital, like developing pneumonia from being on a ventilator. Conservative estimates were that 98,000 people died every year due to preventable mistakes. The government estimated that poor care in hospitals contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients covered by Medicare every year.

The healthcare reform law changed Medicare to improve safety in hospitals and provided financial incentives to do so. The results are amazing. According to the government, in 2013 hospital-acquired conditions affected 1.3 million fewer patients than in 2010 (the law went into effect over several years). This produced savings of around $12 billion dollars (the cost of treating these preventable conditions), and saved around 50,000 lives, in just one year.

That’s in addition to the lives saved by people getting health insurance who previously couldn’t afford it.

My only question is, what took us so long?



  1. Jon wrote:

    Keep in mind that, GDP was reduced by that same $12 billion, which in turn resulted in thousands fewer health-related jobs. (That’s the rather cynical truth.)

    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  2. Matt wrote:

    Pay for performance (value-based purchasing) has been drafted in laws since 2004. The ARRA put this into effect in 2009, not the ACA.

    Saturday, December 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink