ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
Steven Lopez has gone without health insurance for 15 years, and the Affordable Care Act hasn’t changed his mind. Once again this year he will forgo coverage, he said, even though it means another tax penalty.
Last tax season, the 51-year-old information technology professional and his family paid a mandatory penalty of nearly $1,000, he said. That’s because they found it preferable to the $400 to $500 monthly cost of an Obamacare health plan.
“I’m paying $6,000 to have the privilege of then paying another $5,000 [in deductibles],” said Lopez, who lives in Downey, a suburb of Los Angeles. “It’s baloney — not worth it.”
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According to a recent statistical analysis, medical care determines only about 11 percent of health—far less than individual behavior (38 percent), social circumstances (23 percent), and genetics and biology (21 percent). The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that much of what we spend on health care does not translate into better health outcomes and that collectively we don’t receive nearly enough benefit to justify the costs in higher taxes, higher premiums and lower wages.
As Congress and the incoming Trump administration consider how to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they should focus on the drivers of excessive spending, the primary one of which is comprehensive health insurance. By doing so, President-elect Trump can best attempt to deliver on his promise of “great health care for much less money.”
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Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber told CNN’s Carol Costello on Monday that it is not possible to just “get rid of the parts” of the health care law that people do not like because that was tried and “premiums went through the roof.”
Costello interviewed Gruber on her show and asked how Americans’ health care premiums would be affected if President-elect Donald Trump repealed parts of the Affordable Care Act that are unpopular after taking office.
“So, let’s say he keeps the parts of the law that people really like,” Costello said. “What would that do to all of our premiums? If he could keep all of the elements that you say that Congress might reject.”
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ObamaCare’s political disciples are dismissive of the tales of woe that ObamaCare has left in its wake, pointing instead to statistics on the reduced rate of uninsured.
Whatever egalitarian ethos that the law’s architects anxiously claim that ObamaCare still achieves, it certainly doesn’t justify the pain that the scheme is causing middle class and families. There’s a very narrow band of Americans who qualify for the law’s special “cost sharing subsidies” who can find ObamaCare plans affordable. Many who fall outside this slim income range are being hammered.
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While Obamacare has brought health insurance to millions of people in the U.S., some in the program are finding that the medical care they need is too expensive to actually use.
Michelle Harris, a 61-year-old retired waitress in northwest Montana, has arthritis in both shoulders. She gets a tax subsidy to help buy coverage under Obamacare, though she still pays $338 a month for the BlueCross BlueShield plan. Yet with its $4,500 deductible, she says she’s doing everything she can to avoid seeing a doctor. Instead, she uses ibuprofen and cold-packs.
“It hurts, but we don’t have that kind of money,” Harris said in an interview. “So I deal with it.”
Open enrollment for the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act kicks off Tuesday, and there’s a good chance consumers logging on to compare plans will face some sticker shock.
Monthly insurance premiums for popular plans on HealthCare.gov are rising by 25 percent on average next year, according to government data. But the increases will be more dramatic in certain parts of the country, especially for consumers not receiving subsidies, the numbers show.
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As premiums for Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance plans skyrocketacross the country, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appears to be spinning the bad news by noting that 2017 premiums are about what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expected they would be when the law passed in early 2010. However, CBO’s November 2009 estimate of future premiums involved significant and generally unforeseeable errors in key underlying assumptions having nothing to do with the ACA. A valid understanding of the ACA’s effect on insurance premiums would need to account for these errors.
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As open enrollment starts Tuesday on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, consumers in some parts of the country are bracing for huge rate hikes, while many others are preparing to change insurers and likely doctors.
The crazy quilt of 2017 changes is creating angst among both supporters of the law and consumers under 65 who don’t get their insurance through work. And it comes as enrollment needs a big boost, especially of younger, healthier people to help offset insurers’ costs of covering the sicker people who have signed up so far.
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The cost of health insurance in the Obamacare exchanges is set to rise significantly in 2017. Here in Missouri, premiums are rising by over twenty points on average. But for the Show-Me State, that average rate increase only tells part of the story.
For one, the high cost of Obamacare-approved insurance plans isn’t hitting customers uniformly across the state; indeed, rural customers are far more likely to be charged more for health insurance than their urban peers, even within an “Affordable Care Act” marketplace.
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The 25 percent increase in Obamacare premiums for 2017 announced on October 24 is eye-popping. That is five times the increase that workers are likely to see in the cost of health benefits offered by employers. Politically, this is a disaster.
However, the jump in premiums is overdue. Insurers in the exchange market have found that the cost of providing coverage is much higher than they initially projected. We expect insurers to offer coverage to everyone, regardless of their health condition. That’s good social policy, but it is expensive.
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